For the Grill, Burgers Beyond the Basic

How to make a simple pork, lamb or beef burger spectacular, super flavorful and sublime.

Comments: 89

  1. My go-to burger is a Three Chile Burger: grilled 1/2 pound 23% fat good beef dry-rubbed with ancho chile powder, black pepper & salt, topped with queso asadero & poblano rajas on a chipotle ketchup-smeared brioche bun.

  2. Mark- don't know if you'll want to post this, but I thought you would enjoy the humor/irony.

    At the moment I'm suffering through several days of "stomach flu", with occasional eruptions and constant queasiness.

    I'm poking at my computer, because I can kind of do it, sometimes. So- mind firmly off food, I saw your name and automatically clicked through.

    Your writing engaged my brain thoroughly; I greatly enjoyed it. Until I hit the end, and my brain shifted from intellectual absorption to "ok, when am I gonna try this, and what's it really going to taste like..." when, of course, the queasiness hit hard again.

    Now, I'm oscillating. I turn my mind elsewhere, queasiness recedes... but as soon as I quit active manangement, my thoughts slip back to your burgers.

    And I can't even decide whether I wish I'd missed the column, or not.

    :-)

  3. I agree with everything said except the choice of recipes. Burgers are supposed to be made primarily from beef. The only recipe given is for raw beef burgers, which not only have the texture of mush, taste like something a robin regurgitated for it's young.

    Clue: Buy top quality meat, have it ground or grind it yourself. Season the way you like it. AND COOK IT. It's not a steak.

  4. Um, there is nothing minimalist about owning a meat grinder. A minimalist approach to a hamburger would be to lighten up, drop the snobbery, and enjoy a normal hamburger, ketchup and all.

  5. I'll be attempting these burgers over the holiday weekend...without the fat counter! The biggest challenge will be making my own "hard rolls" (you can't get good bread in Virginia). Thanks for the article.

  6. This is going to wreck my diet. Bring on the burgers!

  7. Aside from the great sounding burgers, Mark Bittman mentions the scarcity of good hard rolls. Is anyone on to a good source in New York or elsewhere? I know of one great place in my mom's small, mostly German hometown in southern Wisconsin, but that's probably not much of a help to most (including me).

  8. As a solo grill-er most of the time I'm not sure that I'm ready to commit this much time to a meal that - eaten alone - takes under 15 minutes to eat, but I am excited about these notes for the next barbecue that I host on my new grill - thanks! Perhaps some notes on making chicken more interesting (or is that not possible)?

    You can find me at Life: Forward (http://LifeForward.onsugar.com) talking about women, the wage gender gap, and body image.

  9. Unless it's grass-fed beef, a hamburger is too fatty, wherever it comes off the cow.
    A good lamb burger is hard to beat, you're right, and it's a mystery why they don't appear more often. But can you imagine the Wendy's or McD's take on the thing? No thanks.

  10. Great recipes! Wouldn't it have been nice to have had some vegetarian burger options that are spectacular, super flavorful and sublime as well? Or maybe it's jsut mear that needs the jazzing up?!

  11. Agree 100% on the hard roll comment. They also make the sandwich complete. Try City Bakery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

  12. I don't always have time to grind my own meat, but we are lucky to have a local sheep farmer who supplies not only ground lamb but ground mutton at the Ithaca Farmers' Market. It's a bit more flavorful than the lamb, even, and makes an awesome burger! In the winter, it also makes an excellent boboti.

  13. Grinding meat is not minimal, sorry. But here's a good burger: add bread crumbs, an egg, pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a dollop of tomato paste and you have a burger that stays moist and tasty regardless of the talents of the person flipping at the grill.

  14. Cannot wait to improve upon my own pretty good burgers...Thanks Mark -- you are the best.

  15. I have no problem with the idea of sometimes adding things to "burgers," but have to take issue with the following: "Why would anyone make a plain burger? Why would you begin with supermarket ground beef"
    I make "plain" burgers on the grill all summer long, and they're fantastic. I use good grass-fed beef from local farms. All I add is some salt, and maybe a slice of sweet onion.

  16. Fantastic inspiration before Memorial Day weekend!

  17. Growing up along the Chesapeake Bay where eating seafood is like breathing. We had all kinds of burgers stuffed with crab, fish and even sometimes chicken. Those were still the days when you went to your butcher, he ground up whatever you bought and you stuffed it with with seafood which you always had plenty of. We called it Hamburger Helper long before the nasty store bought product came out.

    Whats old is new again. And BTW - Fat is not a four letter word - fat equals flavor. A good portion of it will burn or melt away on the grill.

    A little Old Bay on the pork burger goes a long way, long enough to take me back home again. Thanks Mark

  18. If you want all those condiments shown in the photo of the main article, make chili instead! They don't belong on a burger. Otherwise, the recipes look great.

  19. I always use grated onions in, and balsamic vinegar on, my burgers, splashing on a few drops on each side before it is done, cooking it in a heavy fry pan not a grill. Delicious. I'm going to add some of our home grown fennel - good idea.

  20. Did this column get renamed the Maximalist? Not that one always needs to be minimalist, but the trick to a great burger is that less is more. Great beef with a high fat content. Lightly seasoned. Seared and quite rare. A soft bun, toasted (beyond the monstrous variations on "burger" proposed in this column, does anyone seriously want a burger on a hard bun? The idea in this column seems to be to take the burger out of a burger). And relatively few condiments -- I am partial to crisp iceberg (the only lettuce that stands up to a burger and gives a pleasing counterpoint) and a slice of tomato (nice acidity, again as a counterpoint).

    I like a lamb burger fine, and pork sausage is delicious in its sausage form, but neither has the wondrous qualities of a perfect burger.

  21. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I have never seen " ground" meat come out of a food processor. While most chefs dwell on the chemistry of cooking, the mechanics of prep are of prime importance. Grinding compresses and cuts the meat "fiber" and blends the the fat in . Somewhere between sludge and chunky funky is the best a processor blade can accomplish.

  22. We grill as often as we can. Burgers are made from 93/7 store-ground beef with different spices (no salt, we cannot stand the taste) and minimal extra ingredients. Fat is overrated. We might add onions, scallions, garlic, basil, rosemary, or chopped red pepper. Eggs or bread crumbs are for baking cakes or restaurant meatloaf.

  23. My go-to burger is a Three Chile Burger: grilled 1/2 pound 23% fat good beef dry-rubbed with ancho chile powder, black pepper & salt, topped with queso asadero & poblano rajas on a chipotle ketchup-smeared brioche bun.

  24. I wonder two things: first, if professional cooks & food writers will ever get it with respect to fat, and second, if they will ever take food safety seriously. Some of us can't eat 20% fat, ever, and none of us want to spend our day not puking while surfing the web. How about a tasty 90% recipe, and techniques for actually cooking ground beef?

  25. Any recommendations on a good electric meat grinder?

  26. Great inspirations for the upcoming grilling season, thanks Mark. How about doing an article on how to make hard rolls? 8-)

  27. First of all, I can't stand pictures of burgers top with things that would completely fall to the plate the second you picked it up and turned it towards your mouth.

    That said. . .there's a place for the plain ground beef burger. Bittman is getting into the territory of Kofta here (kofta, kufteh, kofteh, etc.), an Afghani (middle eastern) style lamb patty. Those are great with a tzatziki made from cukes and dill from the garden (use good yogurt like full fat Fayeh), and flat bread that you can cook on the grill. E.g. naan rolled into pita form, or even a basic pizza dough.

  28. Hopefully, "pork" is not found is Jewish homes either, as pepper grinders once were.

  29. I'm fine with grinding meat at home (it helps justify the $$ and space required for my Kitchen-Aid mixer and the attachment), but the description of these burgers as "sausage" makes me wonder—why not just buy good sausage (I'm thinking hot Italian), remove the casing, reshape, and grill? Now THAT would be minimal!

  30. It's prematurely hot here in Upstate New York, so last night I grilled lamb burgers: Wegman's ground lamb, salt & pepper, dried oregano, chopped fresh dill and most importantly crumbled feta cheese, served on crusty French bread with lettuce, tomato and a "gyro" sauce of sour cream, minced garlic, lemon juice and a little salt. They came out just like the song says, "Summer time, and the livin' is easy...."

  31. As for fast food lamb burgers, I am not proud, but I once ate a Lamb McSpicy at a McDonald's in the UK.

  32. Mark,
    If I grind the pork in a meat grinder, do I need to grind the fat separately?

  33. Okay, you don't need salt and fat. I'm sorry, that's a recipe that isn't necessary and will kill people

    You can take very lean ground beef and cook it to JUST the point when it is safe to eat but won't kill them because it isn't cooked properly.

    It's usually 6 minutes each side on a half inch thick patty. That will get you a pinkish patty. And if you're on a diet you don't need fat - you can cook the patty without fat and with a lean patty you will not gain weight at all, in fact this burger will lead to weight loss.

    Cut the crusts off the bun/bread, add lettuce and you have a healthy burger that tastes the same as the rich fatty ones, but you have energy and pop after eating it.

  34. Great suggestions in the article. A lot of the commenters are off though. If you want a low fat burger fine. if want to cut the salt fine. If you want to cook your burger till it's a one deep shade of grey, thats fine too. Just don't think your doing taste any justice. Props to the commenter about food processors. You can not grind meat in a food processor. Your better off just buying pre ground.
    The joy of fresh ground beef is that one can safely cook it medium unlike the pre ground meat.

  35. For the most part I have always tried to stay away from lean meat for burgers, but my wife recently discovered Highmont Beef(she bought a few steaks at Ottomanelli's then we ordered some ground beef online) The beef is super lean and the natural flavor is OUT OF THIS WORLD...We like it enough that we have a monthly standing order.
    You can get more info on the website www.blacktailmountainranch.com

  36. For those of us lucky enough to be living in urban foodie wonderlands, there should be no need for a meat grinder. Here in Chicagoland, we are blessed with real butcher shops who grind a variety of quality meats daily, or who will grind a meat to the customer's request. I can't think of anything more likely to squash my desire to grill a burger than to have to grind the meat myself.

    Grilling is the antithesis of winter cooking which often calls for a myriad of pots, pans, and food prep gadgets that someone has to wash. Who wants to fiddle with and clean a meat grinder when grilling is so sublimely free of kitchen equipment?

  37. Good grilled burgers are extremely dependent on the meat selection. This is common sense. Great grilled burgers less dependent on the meat and more influenced by the by the things we add to the meat. For example. Try mixing a low fat hamburger meat with a small mixture of sausage and Rouge River blue cheese.

  38. I like these ideas...they sound tasty, and of course anyone can play with the components per their own preference.

    I'm with #34...I don't need to read a food column telling me how to take tasteless low-fat beef, overcook it, and pretend it tastes good.

  39. Either I can take your advice on the fat content and die when I'm 50, or I can eat 94 or 96 lean beef, doctored with some Worcestershire sauce and fresh diced onion, grilled on very high heat to seal in the juice and flavor, and have a very tasty burger AND unblocked arteries.

  40. Fat is just gross. Hate lamb, pork is not a hamburger, it's something else entirely. Here's my recipe, super lean sirloin steak, grind (at the market by the butcher with a grinder not at home with a processor, that's meat paste), grill over charcoal outside on on an electric grill inside anytime of year with a sprinkle of ground sea salt and whole black pepper from a grinder. Take cooked patty and place on a sesame seeded store bought hamburger bun, size large with onion slices (any kind), tomato slices (any kind) and lettuce (any kind) and Miracle Whip. Variations can include cheese (your choice, American works great for burgers) spicy mustard, relish or dill pickle slices, and yes, ketchup. An alternative is a Famous Star or Super Star from Carl's Jr and a Double Double from In-N-Out, either to go or eat there.

  41. Tempting Mark, but where's the recipe for the salsa on the burgers in the lead photo?

  42. I love me a good burger. There's something so satisfying about picking up a hunk of meat and bread and chomping into it! We have lamb burgers on mini pita with feta and tahini sauce, peppers, tomato, spinach and red onions. YUM

    I would LOVE some whole grain roll recipes. Haven't checked Peter Reinhardt for adapting whole grain boules into rolls - but must do!

  43. Now here is the best:
    Take ground lamb (from supermarket is okay; Colorado Creek is v good, and don't worry that it smells eggy when you open the package),
    mix in dijon mustard, pressed garlic, rosemary, thyme (any proportions), olive oil,
    form patties and grill over hot coals.
    Do not cook all the way done; leave a little pink inside.
    Serve with or without bun and veggies of your choice and good inexpensive red wine, preferably bordeaux or rioja style.

  44. I'm reading this article from Los Angeles, which is the home of the best burgers in the world. For anyone out there who is local, my two favorites are the Father's Office burger, which they serve one delicious way only (including a secret marmalade) and the Golden State burger, which is a slice of heaven on a lightly buttered roll that must be potato based. (Angelenos feud over the best burgers here, perhaps more than any other food) Thick cut sweet potato fries w curry ketchup -- heaven. And a beer float. YES, a beer float. Turkey burgers, though, no thanks. Anything too much like a meatloaf consistency turns my stomach. Come on over.

  45. think that this burger is great.

  46. Can somebody tell me where to get those amazing looking buns in the title image of this article?!

  47. Mark, your breaking my minimalist heart. Thanks to your big yellow book, I now only cook the way you told me to: In a cast-iron skillet with just salt on the meat. It's perfect. By the way, don't you think some good juices go to waste with a burger on a grill?

  48. Buffalo! Ground Buffalo! The taste is what every burger lover wishes for and didn't know.
    Buffalo on a toasted ciabatta roll lathered with blue cheese dressing with sauteed onions,mushroons,slices of avacado and tomato and a leaf of romaine.
    This is it!

  49. Hamburgers, American style, should be make from beef. My grandmother used to add breadcrumbs and other seasonings...with taste and texture more like meatballs than a hamburger. Pork in a hamburger...shrimp...please, a hamburger should be just a hamburger...we shouldn't be asking "where's the beef."

  50. GE,

    I purchased the meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid mixer (which is electric). I find it works very well.

  51. Equal parts Frank's Red Hot or Siracha and Melted Butter on everything from chicken to ribs to hamburgers. It's unreal.

  52. We must all be in a burger state of mind with the emergeance of the warm weather.

    My staple burger is the Colorado Lamburger- spiked with minced lovage, garlic, and house-preserved lemon, cooked on charcoal, served on a lightly charred Dijon lathered piece of ciabatta and topped with grilled onions and fresh arugula.

    http://frenchpressmemos.blogspot.com...

    Long live summer and the big green egg.

  53. A great read, thanks!

  54. Yo, Mr./Ms. Minialmist: There is nothing minimal about these burgers! Eighty lean with fine pedigree, cooked to desired taste and an excellent bun. End of story!!! Chances are with the recipes related even Linda Lovelace would not even be able to get her mouth around same.

  55. Good meat, minimal handling, salt and pepper, and a well tempered grill is how you make a great hamburger. Pure and simple.

  56. Folks, lighten up! A basic mechanical grinder a handy thing - I grew up with one that got used frequently to grind up left over cooked meats, potatoes and onions into a fabulous homemade hash. yummy! I splurged for the grinder attachment for my kitchenaid and think it money well spent for grinding all sorts of veggies, beans and meat. More use of a powerful engine! And making your own sausage from turkey or duck with your own seasonings is well worth the time.

  57. Hey Mark: You're Jewish? And you eat pork?? Tsk!

  58. so ... is anyone else wondering.... what kind of burger is in that first photo (is that mango i see?) and what is the recipe???

  59. 2 Clutch recipes for everyone...

    Lamb Burger: Ground Lamb Patty (spiced with Cumin, Pepper and fire roasted tomatoes), Soft Mozz, some sliced red pepper that was simmered with the burger and a chipotle sauce on a sourdough bun!

    Sausage/Beefalo: 2/3 Beefalo 1/3 Spicy sausage in a patty, light salsa, provolone cheese on a sesame seed bun

  60. Don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but Mark left out one important point when grinding meat: Make sure the meat is cold! Put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes first. Otherwise the fat might melt as you're grinding it, especially if you use a food processor.

    (And while I agree with another poster that the food processor isn't the best choice for grinding meat, it's probably safe to assume that more people have a food processor than have a meat grinder.)

    I, for one, am looking forward to a nice porkburger!

  61. When we traveled in India in 1985, we were delighted to find a Wimpy on Connaught Circle in New Delhi with fresh milkshakes, and there on the menu it was: the Lamb Burger.

    The go-to burger in our house contains lean beef, Italian bread crumbs (oh, the horror!), finely chopped bacon and ham, and egg to hold it all together.

  62. Funny how you note your Jewish roots in one paragraph and extol Pork burgers in the next! I am sure Mrs. Roth wasn't using Pork! Let's keep a burger simple and "minimalist" by sticking with beef... all else is a meatloaf!

  63. This reverse snobbery is just sad. Go ahead, eat your fat-free, tasteless supermarket beef burgers with sugary, bland ketchup on supermarket rolls that taste like Kleenex. But don't begrudge the rest of us who like to spice up our meat and use premium ingredients.

  64. Pork isn't a burger and neither is lamb.
    Call them something else if you want.
    Crab cakes? Not a burger. They are crab cakes.
    Want a burger? 85/15 beef. Grind it yourself or not. Then cook it the way you like it. Put what you want on it.
    Why are we always trying to complicate things?

  65. Why reinvent the wheel? There is something absolutely satisfying about a burger with only salt, pepper and fixings, grilled. Sea salt is a nice touch and I prefer ground bison. Burgers need not a gourmet makeover.

  66. My personal solution to the not enough fat or flavor in a turkey or chicken burger- add about a cup of prepared pesto to a pound of low fat ground poultry. The olive oil dials up the fat but in a healthier vein, the parm, pine nuts and basil (or other pesto base)dial up the flavor.
    Let the mixture sit about 5-10 minutes (time to fiddle with the grill)
    I make the patties wide and thinner than a traditional big burger so that I can cook it through without it being too dry. It helps if you put a fajitas pan or other flattener on it too so it doesn't well up too much in the middle.
    You can do this the easy peasy way with pre-ground chicken or turkey and Costco's famous pesto or the labor intensive way with grinder, morter and pestal and about an hour out of your life. Either way, its a tasty burger and low cholesterol!

  67. my husbands mother use to slather her burgers with orange marmalade and then place it in the oven to brown a bit...=)

  68. Try tossing some whole coriander and cumin seeds along with some chopped jalapenos, cilantro, and egg, and some toasted flour into finely ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Grill to medium well and serve with chutney.

  69. In the debate over hard bun vs. soft bun, Mr. Bittman should have mentioned the revolutionary alternative, known as the "rice burger", pioneered by the Japanese fast food chain MOS Burger.

    Perhaps he assumed that good burgers can only be found in the U.S., which unfortunately reflects the limited world view of most Americans. Or perhaps the New York Times has tightened its expense policy and will not fly food critics to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore to survey the eating habits of a region five times the size of the United States.

    MOS Burger is hugely popular, not just in Japan but throughout East Asia. Their innovative and healthful bun made of rice mixed with barley and millet is one of their most popular offerings, usually served with a filling of grilled strips of beef seasoned with teriyaki, known as the Yakiniku Burger. MOS Burger cook their burgers to order and largely avoid the cheap substitutes and synthetic additives that pepper American fast food.

    I have always wondered why MOS Burger has not made a foray into North America. Perhaps they were burned by their previous business failure in Hawaii. But I think the Yakiniku Burger could be a hit in this country, not just because of concerns about the healthfulness of fast food, but because their food is actually very tasty.

    Mr. Bittman, I suggest you fling your net wider and display a more global curiousity, especially if you are attempting to introduce new twists on classic dishes.

  70. All that white pure solid pork fat?? You just made me a vegetarian. You have GOT to be kidding.

  71. A minimalist and more sane approach would be to dispense with the meat. Given the huge amount of resources, tremendous environmental damage, and harm to our health, we would all enjoy less fossil fuel consumption, less pollution, and improved health for doing without dead animals. Not to mention that animals are sensitive creatures who feel the torture to which we subject them.

  72. Talking about hamburgers in the U.S. Is like talking about football in the U.K., Italy, Spain and Brazil. Mark is a gourmet, likes to evolve old recipts, tey new ideas, he is progressive! For you posters that think that everything should stay as it is, don't change, don't even comment, you shouldn't be in this blog anyway. Do your thing, and have a nice day! As for us open minded, we appritiate Marks suggestions, and for sure will try em out. Why Not? that's what we are here for in this lifetime to learn from the professionals. Good article Mark, keep it up, we the gourmets appritiate your work!!!!!!!

  73. If one is taking the trouble to grind meat--something that is necessary to have meat safe to serve at an acceptable state of rareness--it seems a shame to do anything other than get the best meat and add nothing but a little salt and pepper to the outside. If I buy good meat, I want to taste it.

    To those suggesting less fat--fine, if that's what tastes good to you. As a health matter, it seems increasingly clear that what is risky is not the meat or the fat but the grilling byproducts. Grilled items are probably best had as a rare indulgence; making them leaner doesn't solve the problem. (Drinking red wine alongside may help.)

  74. Using a food processor to grind meat is not difficult. By putting in chunks of meat, a few at a time, and pulsing until you have the correct consistency, you will not end up with mush. When you have the desired consistency, remove from the processor and do another batch. I do this all the time and it comes out great.

  75. I'm sorry but those burgers in the photo look like a complete mess, It looks like something out of Top Chef. Something that lost the competetion. While I understand wanting to do a new twist on an old classic this is abit overkill. I can't image serving this at a BBQ.
    Keep it simple, after all most Americans cannot afford Gourmet ingredients right now.

  76. I think it's funny that lots of the comments are focused on the fat content of the burger. For me, depending on the type of burger (type of meat, fat %, and ingredients) I'll also have sides that will be healthy. Salads (fruit and lettuce) and other ideas will line the table.

    I think if calories and fat are being mentioned, what are you grabbin' to drink?! :)

  77. It was a fun read, and will never happen in my tiny kitchen! I'm only willing to go so far for a sandwich.

  78. I completely disagree with your take that lean meat is bad for making burgers. If you do absolutely nothing with it, your assertion is true. However, you make the case against packaged ground meat and for beef and lamb by saying grind it yourself. But you dismiss lean meats out of hand with offering them a similar "helping hand." The addition of an adequate amount of olive oil to any ground meat mix (and your favorite seasonings, of course) will more than make up for the lack of fat content, without compromising flavor. I do this all the time with extremely lean fresh-ground venison or even packaged ground bison, and the result is a burger just as juicy and flavorful as a higher-fat version. For example (and to answer BobnPA's comment/query), I use 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil per pound of ground bison, a 90+% lean meat. Add desired seasonings (I use a combination of garlic powder, seasoned salt, oregano, and cilantro), mix, shape into patties, and grill. Even at medium-well (which my kids prefer, for now) these are still quite juicy; at medium-rare to medium, they are exquisite. I grill only over charcoal (about 250-300 degrees); flip them when they start to run red, and then give them another 90 seconds to two minutes (max) -- or until the cheese melts, if you're making cheese burgers -- to get them to that just-right almost-medium-ish state.

  79. For seasoning, don't forget liquid smoke. My favorite burger is ground beef, one small pureed fresh onion per pound, worchestershire, seasoned salt, liquid smoke and just a little hot sauce. A pair of dinner plates pressed bottom to bottom makes a decent patty press. Use waxed paper to keep the meat from sticking to the plate. Cumin, rubbed sage and more hot sauce will make a taco burger.

    To answer the question about a good meat grinder, I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with several attachments. The meat grinder attachment accepts a juicer accessory that will squeeze the juice and pulp from berries while removing the seeds. The Kitchen Aid is a big, bulky, expensive appliance that just happens to be the most versatile kitchen implement in the world. I just bought the grain mill attachment, to experiment with fresh ground grains. The dough hook makes mixing bread dough a snap. Maybe I will make gourmet fresh baked hamburger buns to go with the deluxe burgers.

  80. Forget the burgers---delicious as they are. Where do you get those buns??

  81. Although I try to stay away from meat, I will try these delicious- sounding burgers. I recently tried a black-bean and rice, "mesquite" flavored burger and it was great and no meat! Mark, gotta come up with a recipe without meat for us wanna-be vegetarians.

  82. Great article. One thing that I can not figure out is I thought the jewish faith and pork did not mix. The burgers sound great though. I always add about a 75 percent beef and 25 percent pork mix. If you can, buy and grind the meat yourself. You will not believe the improvment over store bought ground beef. Enjoy

  83. If you are of the jewish faith then skip the pork and add lamb to the mix.

  84. Sounds gourmet to me. If your meat is too lean, the burgers come out too dry and suffer from lack of flavor and juciness.

  85. "I like mine with lettuce and tomato, big Kosher pickle and French-fried potato".......Thanks Jimmy, and thank you Mark.

  86. Mark: I completely disagree with your take that lean meat is bad for making burgers. If you do absolutely nothing with it, your assertion is true. However, you make the case against packaged ground meat and for beef and lamb by saying grind it yourself. But you dismiss lean meats out of hand with offering them a similar "helping hand." The addition of an adequate amount of olive oil to any ground meat mix (and your favorite seasonings, of course) will more than make up for the lack of fat content, without compromising flavor. I do this all the time with extremely lean fresh-ground venison or even packaged ground bison, and the result is a burger just as juicy and flavorful as a higher-fat version. For example (and to answer BobnPA's comment/query), I use 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil per pound of ground bison, a 90+% lean meat. Add desired seasonings (I use a combination of garlic powder, seasoned salt, oregano, and cilantro), mix, shape into patties, and grill. Even at medium-well (which my kids prefer, for now) these are still quite juicy; at medium-rare to medium, they are exquisite. I grill only over charcoal (about 250-300 degrees); flip them when they start to run red, and then give them another 90 seconds to two minutes (max) -- or until the cheese melts, if you're making cheese burgers -- to get them to that just-right almost-medium-ish state.

  87. My burger evolution is almost exactly opposite to the author's. I started with burgers flavored with spices and sauces, moved on to chunky ingredients, and now make the perfect burger with only kosher salt. After I learned how to make the perfect plain burger (liberal coating of kosher salt, smoke from burning oak, a grill as hot as you can make it, and short cooking time) I now wonder why anyone would make burgers like the author describes.

  88. the most important item is left out- the gorgeous rolls in the article picture are not identified - what are they?

  89. @BobnPA (#24): "I wonder two things: first, if professional cooks & food writers will ever get it with respect to fat, and second, if they will ever take food safety seriously."

    With respect to fat: I'm thinking you're in the minority. The reason professional chefs use a lot of fat and salt is because most people like food with high fat content. Humans have evolved to like and prefer the taste of fat, because its high caloric density was valued back when famines and extended times of scarce food and hunger were common.

    With respect to food safety: Meh. My opinion is that most restaurants do just fine in this respect. (Here I am talking about restaurants as small businesses run by a chef and an individual owner, as opposed to a fast food or chain restaurant such as Bennigans or KFC.)