Burger 101

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min (if making queso)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 burgers
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Ingredients

Burgers

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

8 thin slices of white American cheese or Homemade Queso, recipe follows

4 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted

Lettuce leaves, sliced tomato, onion and pickles, BBQ potato chips, Dijon mustard and ketchup, for garnish (if using American cheese; optional)

Homemade Queso:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed, heated

1 cup grated Monterey Jack from a wedge (not pre-grated)

1 cup grated white sharp cheddar from a wedge (not pre-grated)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Sliced pickled jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips and pico de gallo, for garnish (if using Homemade Queso)
  2. Heat your griddle or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the oil and let heat until it begins to shimmer.
  3. Shape the ground beef with your hands into 4 round patties about 3/4 inch thick; season each burger on both sides with salt and pepper. Make a divot in the center of each burger. Add the burgers to the griddle or skillet, divot-sides up and cook, flipping once, until brown on both sides and cooked to medium doneness, about 8 minutes, total.
  4. IF USING SLICED CHEESE: Top each burger with 2 slices of the cheese. Carefully, add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and immediately cover tightly with a lid. If using a griddle, squirt a bit of water from a squeeze bottle then cover 1 burger at a time with a melting dome or metal bowl. Count to 10. Lift the lid or dome. If the cheese is totally melted, place the burgers on the bun bottoms; if not, cover again and count 5 more seconds. Top with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, potato chips, Dijon mustard and ketchup, if desired.
  5. IF USING QUESO SAUCE: Place each burger on a bun bottom and top with a few tablespoons of the queso sauce. Top with the jalapenos, tortilla chips and pico de gallo.
  6. Cover the burgers with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Homemade Queso:

Yield: 2 cups
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat Add the flour and cook, whisking, until pale blond, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the 2 cups of hot milk, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and the raw flour taste has cooked out, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in all 3 cheeses until smooth. Whisk in more hot milk if the queso is too thick. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne.
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