Recipes Main Courses Beef and Veal The Perfect Hamburger
The Perfect Hamburger

The Perfect Hamburger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4
Use your imagination to jazz up a classic hamburger any way you want. For an Asian twist, omit the Worcestershire sauce and salt, add a dash of soy sauce, and use chopped green onion instead of yellow onion. For a French-style hamburger, omit the Worcestershire sauce, halve the salt, and add 1 Tbs. each of crumbled blue cheese and chopped mushrooms along with a dash of red wine. For a Provençal flavor, omit the Worcestershire sauce, double the garlic, and add 1 Tbs. each of chopped dried tomatoes and pitted black olives. Vary the garnishes along with the seasonings. For health reasons, all ground meat should be cooked at least to the medium-well stage.


  • 1 lb. ground chuck or ground lean beef
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • Sliced tomato for serving
  • Sliced sweet white onion, such as Maui, Vidalia
      or Walla Walla, for serving
  • Torn lettuce for serving
  • Sliced dill pickle for serving
  • Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard or other
      condiments of your choice for serving


Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each 3/4 inch thick.

Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Check for doneness by cutting into a hamburger near the center or testing with an instant-read thermometer. No pink should show on the inside, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. If making cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on top of each hamburger during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

During the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, toast the hamburger buns, cut side down, on the grill. Serve the hamburgers on the buns with tomato, white onion, lettuce, dill pickle and condiments. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Grilling, by Denis Kelly (Simon & Schuster, 2002).