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Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      25 min

Appears in

New York Cult Recipes

New York Cult Recipes

By Marc Grossman

Published 2013

  • About

It’s easy to make a burger that’s just okay. Taking your patties and hamburgers to the next level demands a little more effort, but it’s really worth it. Here are the basic rules.


  • 200 g (7 oz) minced (ground) meat (see note)
  • 2 slices cheese (cheddar, Comté...)
  • 2 buns
  • 6 rounds pickled onion or other pickles
  • lettuce and/or tomato
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) sauce (ketchup, mayonnaise, special sauce...)

Special Sauce

  • 120 g ( oz/½ cup) mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pickles, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco® sauce (optional)


The Meat and Cheese

It’s important to resist the temptation to press the meat into perfect compact pucks like the ready-made ones from the supermarket or the ones shaped by the butcher. Patties cook better when they are loosely put together, so you should work them with your hands and without pressing too hard. A good portion size is about 100 g ( oz), though it can be smaller. Brown the meat in a little butter or oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium–high heat, turning only once if possible. Gently press the meat with a spatula. After 3–5 minutes, when the first side is well browned, turn over the patty and cook the other side for 3–5 minutes. The temperature of the inside of the meat should be 60–70°C (140–160°F), according to taste. Check for doneness by pressing the patty with your fingers: the denser it feels, the more cooked it is. For a cheeseburger, add a slice or two of cheese on the browned side of the patty once it has been turned over. The cheese will melt while the meat continues to cook.

Toppings and Buns

Make the toppings in advance. They might be lettuce, tomatoes, pickles (pickled onions, for example) and a sauce, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, or a special sauce, which is usually a mixture of different condiments. Slice the buns in half and toast them just before starting to cook the meat so they are still warm when you serve the burger. You can toast them in a frying pan with a little butter, but this is optional.


Spread the sauce on the bottom half of the toasted bun and put the cooked patty on top, followed by the other toppings such as lettuce or tomato. You can put sliced pickles under or on top of the meat.

The Pickled Onions

See ‘fast pickles’ recipe.

French Fries

See recipe.