Perfecting the Burger

by Susan Salzman
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bestburgerSummer isn’t summer without grilling all of our favorite things; kabobs, thick rib eyes, pizza, fish, corn, all kinds of veggies and of course – burgers.  Burgers are always just okay when made at home.  Yet, after eating at Umami burger, I had to up my game. I loved my burger at Umami burger.  The burger fit perfectly on the bun, the tomatoes were juicy and the other stuff was just right. 

I had to recreate their great taste at home.  After, finally figuring out the right combination of meat and seasonings my kids and their friends agree that my burgers now taste like a restaurant-style burger.  Finally, got the taste that I have been searching for.  Nothing added to the meat, nothing fancy like cheese or butter shoved inside the meat, just meat, a little salt, pepper, + garlic powder.  That’s it.

Eli likes grilled onions, lettuce and ketchup.  Isaac likes lettuce, ketchup + pickles (after all, a burger isn’t a burger without the pickles), and Levi likes cheese and ketchup.  In my opinion, the grilled onions make this burger taste not like your ordinary burger. Don’t leave these out…they truly change the taste of the burger (also delicious on a hot dog!). Use a potato bun and it makes all the difference in the world.  I am even entertaining the idea of making my own buns!  We will see if I am up for the challenge.


Restaurant Style Burgers + Grilled Onions
yield: 6-8

1 lb. ground sirloin (grass fed)
1 lb. ground chuck (grass fed)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons ground pepper
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
potato buns
sliced tomato
sliced pickles (a must)
Boston lettuce leaves
English cheddar

Caramelized onions
2 medium onions, diced
1 tablepoon butter (ghee)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1-2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Combine salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside. Heat your grill pan.

Burgers: Gently combine your two meats together. Don’t over mix the meat, if you do, your burgers will loose their tenderness. Make into 6-8 equal patties. Place on a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle one side of the burger with seasonings. Set in fridge while you make the onions.

Onions: Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Don’t brown them. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and add a few squirts of mustard. Set aside.

Spray grill pan with cooking spray. Place burgers, seasoned side down. Sprinkle tops of burgers with remaining seasonings. Grill for about 5-6 minutes, flip and then grill for about 4 minutes or until your desired doneness.

While the burgers are cooking, brush buns with a little melted butter and warm up in a preheated oven. They will get slightly toasted. Personally, I like to use ghee. Ghee is clarified butter and is used a lot in Indian cooking. You can find it at whole food.


Susan Salzman writes The Urban Baker blog to explore her dedication to good food in the hope of adding beauty to the lives of her family and friends.   

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