Basic Burgers

Nothing beats an old-fashioned hamburger, and the best burgers are really quite basic.  

I remember the old days when my mother always added an egg and some bread crumbs to the mix, “to bind it together.” In reality, she was probably stretching the meat to make that extra patty.

Today, I leave out the crumbs. I simply season the ground beef, throw it on the grill, and top it with a selection of cheese, greens, and grilled vegetables—whatever strikes my fancy. From start to finish, I can serve dinner in 20 minutes. 

A word on seasoning: Don’t just dust salt on the exterior of your burger patties. It’s best to put the ground beef in a bowl, break it up, and sprinkle evenly with salt.  Then shape your burgers. Do not overwork ground beef. Once it’s in the shape of a patty, stop!

Which Beef for Burgers?

When you’re making hamburgers, use the cut of beef that best suits your taste and budget. Ground beef (85 percent lean) is my favorite because it produces a moist burger—and it’s cheaper, too.

For a really rich taste, splurge for ground chuck. Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat, and makes a gourmet burger.


1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 buns
Hamburger toppings


Combine first three ingredients and shape into four 6-ounce hamburger patties.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Grill the patties, covered with the grill lid, over medium-high heat (350 degrees to 400 degrees) 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink. Grill the buns 1 minute on the cut side, or until they are lightly toasted. Top with beef patty and your favorite toppings.


4 servings

Preparation Time: 

20 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 

40 minutes

Preparation Method

Reader Comments

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I think there is an error in

I think there is an error in the ingredients list Probably supposed to read 1/2 to 1 tsp salt.....not beef??

Absolutely right, Jenn!

Absolutely right, Jenn! Thanks for pointing that out!

I personally don't put egg in

I personally don't put egg in my hamburger patties, I only do that with my meatloaf, but to each their own. I would add one little extra step when forming your patties...take your thumb & make an indentation in the center of the patty, so that when your burger cooks & expands, that indentation allows for the patty to "even out". Try it, you'll see what I'm saying is true. Happy Memorial Day. P.s. I too prefer 70/30 ground beef, it has more taste.

I always do the thumb dent

I always do the thumb dent too! Amazing how evenly it cooks. If I want a burger medium rare, I would like the whole patty to be medium rare - not just the center.

The basic burger recipe looks

The basic burger recipe looks well worth a try. I did try to print the recipe but it would only print the first couple of paragraphs. I tried reloading the page to no avail. Printing would not work in print mode or .pdf mode.

Sounds like pilot error.

I'm one of those people that

I'm one of those people that don't like errors especially in recipes and of course maps.
In this recipe the word "salt" is omitted and "beef" is in it's place. Please fix. Thank you!

Mama knows best

Mama knows that when the meat is "too lean" that there's not enough fat to keep it together. The egg and breadcrumbs do not take away from the deliciousness of the meat. And so if you don't want to add the eggs and breadcrumbs, then buy meat with more fat.

i disagree it falls apart on

i disagree it falls apart on the need egg to bind it .i also add minced onion and garlic ,

Sounds like a great burger!

Sounds like a great burger! One Canadian place uses 1 teaspoon BBQ spice to each pound of ground beef. Burgers are best without bread crumbs, eggs, and other additives.