Nothing says summer better than a thick, juicy cheeseburger sizzling away on the grill. But is your cheeseburger the best it can be? We asked our grilling guru, Fred Thompson, to share his expert tips — and his favorite recipe — so you can savor the ultimate cheeseurger experience.
The cheeseburger is an American culinary icon, and anyone who fires up a grill needs a recipe that honors that status. A good cheeseburger is a pleasure, but a great cheeseburger is an experience, and these tips will show you how to make the best.
|Prevent a “swollen belly”
Make an indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb. This prevents what I call the swollen-belly syndrome: burgers that are not as juicy as they should be and are puffed up and smaller than you intended.
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. ground sirloin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 slices of your favorite cheese
6 hamburger buns, split
Ripe tomato slices; crisp lettuce leaves; red onion slices; bread-and-butter or dill pickle slices; and mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup for serving
In a large bowl, using a spoon, not your hands, gently mix together the chuck and sirloin. Run your hands under cold water and then divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a patty about 1 inch thick, being careful not to compact the meat too much. (Check to make sure the patties fit the buns, too.) Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Make a depression in the center of each patty with your thumb. Refrigerate until the grill is ready.
Place the patties, indent side up, on the grill directly over the fire and cook, turning once, until they are nicely charred on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, place a cheese slice on each patty and put the buns, cut side down, along the edge of the grill, then cover the grill. After about 2 minutes, the cheese should be melted and the buns toasted.
Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and place the tops alongside. Set out the condiments for diners to add as desired. Serve at once. Serves 6.
Grilling authority Fred Thompson shares more than 100 delicious recipes in his book Williams-Sonoma Grill Master. The iBook version includes exclusive videos; to buy, search “Williams-Sonoma” in iBooks on your mobile device.