Burger Buying Guide

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Bistro Burger


Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

  • Choose a specific cut. Meat with generic labels like "ground beef" or "hamburger" can come from any part of the cow or from trimmings, so they can be inconsistent in flavor and texture. Ground meat labeled "chuck," "sirloin" or another cut must contain at least 50 percent meat from that cut; it's usually higher quality. If possible, go for organic, grass-fed beef; we love the flavor.
  • Check the color. Don't worry if packaged ground beef is bright red in some areas and brown or purplish in others. This is a harmless reaction of the meat's surface to the air. However, if all of the meat in a package is gray, check the date — it may be past its prime.
  • Skip the preformed patties. They're often shaped by machines, which don't handle the meat gently. Plus, you can't always control the quality of the beef.
  • Ask for a custom grind. Have a butcher grind up your favorite cut, like brisket or short ribs, and mix it with ground chuck. (Some supermarket butchers won't do this, but it's worth asking!) If you have a meat grinder, try it yourself at home.
Kids'-Menu Burger


Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

Now that you know the golden rules of burger buying, dress up your patties with these fun topping combos like the Kids'-Menu Burger pictured above.

Easy Burger Topping Ideas

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Loaded Chili Cheeseburgers

Top your burger with onion rings, chili and barbecue sauce for lots of texture in every bite. Have some extra napkins on hand just in case — this one could get downright messy.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Garden Burgers

Pile this burger high with alfalfa sprouts and avocado slices for an instant veggie fix — and don't forget the Green Goddess dressing. Yogurt, chives, basil and lemon juice come together in a tangy sauce that is sure to keep your patty extra moist.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Hoisin Burgers

Sriracha mayo, cucumber slices and grilled scallions put an Asian-inspired twist on the American classic. Brush the patty with hoisin sauce during the last minute of cooking.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Italian Burgers

Turn your burger into the ultimate Italian masterpiece: Sauteed cremini mushrooms, fried Genoa salami and fresh ricotta bring an upscale feel to this summer staple.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Mexican Torta Burgers

Cheeseburgers take a south-of-the-border spin, topped with refried black beans and crumbled queso fresco. For perfect backyard fiesta food, turn these burgers into sliders by making 2-ounce patties and serving then on mini buns.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Beer-Cheese Burgers

Turn beer cheese into an easy burger topper: Slather it on a patty topped with juicy tomato slices and chopped chives.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Bistro Burgers

Upgrade your go-to burger with a fried egg, bacon and a frisee salad. Serve on a toasted crusty bun for extra crunch.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Kids'-Menu Burgers

Channel your inner child, and top your burger with crinkle-cut French fries, ketchup and American cheese. Eating like a kid never tasted so good.

Photo By: Levi Brown

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