Classic American Cheeseburger

Even allowing for differences in personal tastes, this burger approaches perfection. At first bite, meaty juices will run down your chin and the flavors will remind you just how gratifying an old-fashioned burger can be. There are many ways to personalize these. If you wish, add your mesquite, apple, or hickory wood chips to the grill, or top with bacon. While sliced yellow American cheese is traditional, grated mild cheddar has a bit more flavor, and the shreds melt very readily, too. 

Serves 4

Prep: 10 min

Grill: 8–10 min

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  • 1½ pounds ground chuck (80% lean) 

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

  • 4 thin slices mild cheddar cheese, 

  • 4 sesame hamburger buns, split 

  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce, broken to fit the bun 

  • 8 slices ripe tomato 

  • 8 dill pickle chips 

  • Ketchup

  • Mustard 

  • Mayonnaise 

1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400°F). In a bowl using your hands, mix together the ground chuck, salt, and pepper. 

 

2. Gently form four patties of equal size, each about 3/4 inch thick. 

 

3. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of the patties to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook. 

 

4. Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160ºF), 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. 

 

5. Turn them only when enough crust has developed on the surface of meat that that patties release easily from the grate, without sticking.  

 

6. During the final minute of grilling time, place a slice cheese on each patty to melt. 

 

7. Toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat. 

 

8. Build each burger on a bun with lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, and ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, as desired. Serve warm.