This may sound a little strange coming from a former vegetarian, but friends, I have mastered the art of the hamburger. It’s funny: Up until last year, I was iffy about cooking meat at home–though I’d left vegetarianism behind, I cooked mostly plant-based foods for myself, basically due to a fear of under-cooking something and giving myself salmonella. But living with R., who sticks to a very meat-and-potatoes diet, kind of forced me to get comfortable cooking chicken and beef.
Enter: This hamburger. We still don’t eat a ton of red meat in our house, but occasionally we crave a burger, and this one is delicious. It’s Bobby Flay’s recipe, and it has three ingredients: ground chuck, salt and pepper. You form the patties, cook them in a cast-iron skillet with a little vegetable oil to your desired doneness, and then add on the toppings of your choice. We serve ours on a potato roll with roasted, quartered potatoes (or broccoli if we want to be, ahem, healthier), and it’s seriously a perfect meal.
Here’s the recipe:
The Perfect Hamburger
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Crunch Burger recipe
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (20 percent fat–don’t go lower; that fat content is crucial)
Freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 potato rolls
Toppings of your choice: I like American cheese, mayo and caramelized onions on my burger; R. loves blue cheese and barbecue sauce on his; Bobby Flay’s recipe suggests adding potato chips or coleslaw for crunch. A fried egg would be fantastic, too. The possibilities are endless.
Gently form meat into four 4-inch patties, 3/4-inch thick (making sure not to overwork). Using your thumb, make an indentation at the center of each burger (this will help keep them flat as they cook). Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add vegetable oil to pan and heat until smoking. Add burgers and cook to desired doneness, flipping once or twice. Serve immediately on a soft potato roll and add desired toppings.