5 Perfect Memorial Day Burgers

Fire up that grill! For the ultimate no-fail hamburger that delivers delicious flavor in every bite, follow these tips and tricks from some of America's best chefs.

Plus, get more tips on building the perfect burger.

Classic Hamburger
For Michael Romano, the former executive chef of New York's Union Square Cafe and Shake Shack, it's all about the bun. His choice: a soft, compliant brioche. "I've never been a fan of putting burgers on English muffins...too stiff upper lip. To me, that's like putting starch in your sheets," Romano says.

If you don't want the bun to get soggy, he says, don't leave the meat on it too long before eating. Romano also includes yellow Cheddar for "bite and the iconic look it gets when it melts."




Michael Romano's Ingredients

  • Brioche or other soft hamburger bun, brushed with butter and toasted
  • Raw red onion
  • Ketchup
  • Fresh tomato
  • Sharp yellow Cheddar
  • Fresh ground chuck (80 percent lean, never frozen)
Need instructions, too? Brush up on your grill skills here!

Southwestern Spin
"A thick, juicy burger is as good as it gets," says Jane Butel, owner of the Jane Butel Cooking School in Corrales, N.M. "Just make sure it has hot green chiles on it!"

Her doneness test for a perfect "medium" every time? "Press gently with a thumb; the burger should yield slightly, but not ooze juice."

Click here to get the recipe for Butel's roasted green chiles with garlic.




Jane Butel's Ingredients
  • Lightly buttered, toasted sesame bun, seasoned with dried tarragon and basil
  • Chunky guacamole (avocado, lime juice, chopped red onion, jalapeños, salt, cilantro)
  • Monterey Jack Dijon mustard
  • Ground sirloin (90 percent lean)
  • Roasted Green Chiles with Garlic

East Meets West
"The thing I love about a burger is that you get all the flavors together in one bite," says Ming Tsai, the chef-owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass.

His secret? A tangy hoisin-lime glaze applied while the beef is cooking. "It's a great contrast to the saltiness of the meat," Tsai says.




Ming Tsai's Ingredients
  • Soft sesame bun, toasted on the grill for extra texture
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Sharp Vermont Cheddar (such as Cabot)
  • Grass-fed ground chuck (80 percent lean)
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • A mix of Dijon mustard and red chili paste (like sambal)
  • Hoisin-Lime Sauce

Bistro-Style
When it comes to hamburgers, Judy Rodgers, of San Francisco's Zuni Café, believes in salting her beef early. "It helps the proteins stay juicier while cooking," she says.

Rodgers adds 3/4 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat, forms patties, then refrigerates them for up to six hours, if possible. "If they're cooled to the core, they'll cook more evenly," she says.




Judy Rodgers' Ingredients

  • Grilled rosemary-sprinkled focaccia
  • Baby lettuce
  • Grilled thick red onions
  • Tomato
  • Gruyère (such as Roth Käse from Wisconsin)
  • Grass-fed ground chuck (80 percent lean)
  • Aïoli (mayonnaise mixed with lots of garlic) and whole-grain hot French mustard

Plus: Get more great summer recipes.


Breakfast on a Bun "A cheeseburger is something I get a craving for about once a month," says Susan Spicer, the chef-owner of Bayona, in New Orleans. "After tasting fancy restaurant food all day, there's just nothing better!"

For a six-ounce "medium but not dry" burger, she grills patties five minutes on the first side, two on the second. Spicer pops a fried egg on top for her husband, Chip. "It's my version of steak and eggs - and he'll eat one anytime I make it, day or night," she says.




Susan Spicer's Ingredients
  • Sesame bun, warmed to soften
  • Fried egg, sunny side up
  • Fresh jalapeño slices
  • Kosher dill pickle slices
  • White Cheddar and pepper jack
  • Ground chuck (85 percent lean)
  • Boston lettuce
  • Mayonnaise and ketchup


Tell us how you like your burger!

Want more? Click here for sizzling summer sides to accompany your burger.


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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.