Can there be a better burger than the good old classic American?  Sure, a hamburger can be gussied up to a towering height with bacon, avocado, mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, and toppings ad infinitum, but can the classic hamburger really be improved upon?  Sometimes it’s best to stick with the simple and time tested. The most important step in assuring a great burger is using the right ground beef.  Ground chuck or a combination of ground chuck and sirloin, 80 % lean, is good.  Handle it gently. Don’t compact it.  Form 3 patties from each pound of ground beef. 

Cook on a medium hot grill or, if using a stove top skillet, sprinkle with salt.   Cook for about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Salt and pepper, of course.  Don’t press down with a spatula.  A lightly toasted potato roll goes well. A slice of ripe tomato, red onion and leafy lettuce are not amiss.  Cheese—a warm melt of cheddar can’t hurt.  Pickles, ok, but don’t add more than you can get your mouth around, that is, unless you don’t mind the burger slipping out the other side or requiring the knife and fork treatment. Open an icy cold beer and enjoy!

A Classic Burger Sauce (Double or triple recipe as needed)

2 T mayonnaise

1 T ketchup

½ t sweet pickle relish

1/2 t sugar

½ t white wine vinegar

¼ t black pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin <<…>>    

Photography by Bill Brady


If you ever wondered how a shot like this was created my look for my new book a comprehensive guide on how to shoot and style food titled More Digital Food Photography available for pre-order on
This image comes from the styling chapter and gives step by step instructions on how to style a hamburger.


About Bill Brady Food Photographer

I am an accomplished food and beverage photographer. Having managed to combine my 2 great passions food and photography into a career has been an absolute joy. I spend my time creating food images not only for a living but for my audience. It's a labor of love for me. Recently I have teamed up with a group of very talented people to launch an online Magazine called Heat Magazine. A magazine about all foods spicy. Enjoy
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One Response to A National Treasure: The Classic American Burger

  1. Francis Bautista says:

    Thank you for describing how to get the patty just right. I loved how you described even the small details such as not pressing it with a skillet. I tried your recipe. It was superb.

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