Hamburger recipes are a dime a dozen on the Internet and even in printed cookbooks. In the clamber to come up with the best or most impressive-looking hamburger, people seem to have forgotten that a good hamburger starts with really good meat. Then all you have to do is cook it right, put the right toppings on it, and put it on a good bun.
For this “recipe” for broiled hamburgers, I used all of the best ingredients that I could find, starting with really good ground Limousin beef, Duroc bacon, farmers-market tomatoes, and fresh-baked challah buns.
- 2½ pounds of ground beef
- 6 strips of thick-cut bacon
- 4‒6 slices of smoked cheddar
- Tomato slices
- Red onion slices
- Lettuce 4‒6
- challah buns
- Sliced pickles
Broiled Cheeseburger: Limousin Beef with Smoked Cheddar, Duroc Bacon, on a Fresh Challah Bun
- Pick up some GOOD ground beef. Fresh ground beef is always preferred to not fresh. Many butcher shops grind their own hamburger, so this should be easy to find. Then you must find out which ones taste the best. This may take time, but it’s worth it. A little tip: Grass-fed beef is widely considered to make a better burger, especially if you actually like the taste of beef.
- Shape the meat into hamburger patties. If you are using a quality (as in tasty) ground beef to make hamburgers, you won’t need to season them with anything, especially if you are cooking them to medium rare. Meat does actually contain a fair amount of salt, but when you cook it too much, it all cooks out. These babies are nine ounces each!
- Broil the hamburgers under the broiler. One of the reasons why they are so big is to keep them from overcooking. Many oven broilers are kind of wimpy, resulting in a less-than-browned exterior before the inside of the hamburger gets overcooked. So an extra-thick burger will be more resilient to over-cooking and allow a nice browned exterior to develop. I like to broil my burgers two rungs from the top on high. Keep an eye on them!
- In the meantime, slice up the toppings. You see the color of those tomatoes? It’s red. They could even be a little more red, but overall they look pretty good. Those are the kind of tomatoes you want on your burger. Secondly, you want a nice, thick, crispy bacon for the burgers. Extra-crispy bacon is done by draining the fat halfway through cooking. For more information on cooking bacon, read Pan-Fried Bacon.
- Continue broiling the hamburgers. After a few minutes, the hamburgers will look something like this. Flip them over using the spatula and broil them for two more minutes on the other side. Then remove them and check for doneness. They should be around rare to mid-rare at this point. Cook them to your liking using the temperatures listed below for a guide.
- Cheese the burgers and rest the meat. Once the burgers are close to done, put a slice of cheese on them and melt it under the broiler. Fold the cheese in half to keep it mostly on top of the burger, though the melty bits dripping off the side are a nice little snack. For these burgers I chose a nice smokey cheddar to go with the simple flavor of the meat. It was a good combination.
Tips & Tricks
- Use good-tasting ingredients and you won’t have to cover up their flavor with ketchup and other seasonings.
- Keep an eye on the hamburgers as they broil. They can get overcooked quickly.
- The temperature guide for cooked meat is as follows: rare: 120–125 degrees F; medium rare: 130–140; medium: 140–150; medium well: 150–160; and well done: 160+.
- Also don’t forget to let the burgers rest for a few minutes after they have cooked. This will allow the juices to re-coagulate, which will help to keep them from running out of the meat when you bite or cut into it.