Grain-Fed Quarter-Pound Burgers
Why This Recipe Works
by Tim Chin
Sometimes you don’t mess with a classic. Grain-fed beef chuck is arguably nature’s perfect all-purpose burger blend (the Chuck Norris of beef cuts maybe?). At an 80:20 lean meat to fat ratio, it’s a hard cut of meat to beat for your money. For this recipe we chose a thin-profile burger that we could get crispy on the outside, while the extensive marbling of this grain-fed cut would keep the inside nice and juicy. And to all you die-hard, blowhard burger savants out there heckling us in your seats as you read this: This was to be a thin, fast-cooking, no-fuss patty, so we decided against using a burger blend—though not without some rigorous testing and heated emotional debate. We were looking for crispy edges, richness, and just a hint of tender, meaty goodness in the center—all things that chuck could accomplish beautifully with a little TLC.
Loosely packing and pressing the patties helps create irregular crags at the edges of the burgers and ensures good surface contact with the pan, leading to crispy edges and nicely seared exteriors. Holding off on the salt until flipping contributes even more to a nice crust (salt pulls moisture out of the meat which cools the skillet and creates steam instead of browning—not what we’re going for here). Add a little cheese, a nice potato roll, and some special sauce, and you’re on your way out of burger-tory and into the beefy embrace of this diner-style classic.