Up Your Fourth of July Burger Game

Making the best burgers at home is pretty simple if you just leave it, well, simple. Here are our top tips and recipes.

Jump to:

Ultimate Classic Bacon Burger | Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Burger | Banh Mi Burger | Grilled Salmon Burger

Quality Ingredients Matter

Splurge on the meat. Go to your butcher or grocer’s meat counter, and get 2 pounds of a top-quality 80/20 or 85/15 blend (this makes about eight, 4-ounce burgers), and try to get ground chuck if you can. These numbers are simply the meat-to-fat ratio: 85 percent meat to 15 percent fat. You need the fat for juicy burgers.

Make it Hot

Preheat your grill for at least 10 minutes on high. Clean the grates, and continue to heat it up.

Making burger patties

Make a Patty

Don’t overwork or overhandle the meat. I try to pull off a handful of about 4 ounces, and gently press the meat into a round patty. Work quickly, and don’t pack the burger too tightly.

Poke It

Once your burger is formed into a circle about 1½ inches thick and 4 inches wide, press your finger into the center, and make a small well. This keeps the burger from shrinking into a hockey puck with a thick center while cooking!

Sprinkle Simple Seasoning

Season your burgers with salt, pepper, and a touch of oil. Once the grill is preheated, place the burgers on the grill, lower the heat to 375 degrees, and close the lid. Watch for flare-ups, because these burgers are juicy.

Flip Out

After about 4 to 6 minutes, the juices will be pooling on top of your burgers, and this is your sign that they are ready to flip. Flip them once, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. This will give you a burger that’s medium-well, cooked-through, and juicy, but not overdone. Allow the burgers to rest under foil once they’re fully cooked. If you want to be sure they are done, use an internal thermometer, and when it reads 160 degrees, it’s done.

Add Cheese, Please

At this stage, you can add cheese and watch it get soft and melt on the hot burger.

Toasted Buns

When it comes to the bun, toasted is better. Use a light smear of butter on the inside of the top and bottom, and throw them under the broiler, onto the grill, or into a frying pan just long enough to slightly toast, a minute or two.

burger toppings

Build It

To build your perfect burger, think flavor combos. I always love an interesting mayo, bacon, crunchy lettuce, and onions. If you are going for the all-American classic, think crunchy pickles and juicy tomatoes.

Ultimate Classic Bacon Burger

Ultimate Classic Bacon Burger

  • 8 brioche buns
  • ½ cup sliced red onions
  • 6 to 8 tomato slices 
  • ½ head crunchy green leaf lettuce 
  • 4 thick slices of cheddar cheese 
  • 1 pound thick center-cut bacon, cooked 
  • Ketchup, mustard, and mayo to taste

Follow the method at left to make a perfect beef patty, then assemble with the ingredients above. Makes eight 4-ounce burgers.

Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Burger

  • 4 brioche buns 
  • 1 pound ground chicken 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • Dash of hot sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil 
  • 4 thick slices fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups arugula 

Spicy Aioli

  • 2 tablespoons sambal 
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice 
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper 

Preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Mix the chicken, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, brown sugar, egg, and hot sauce with a fork. Form the meat mixture into four to six even patties, and brush with oil. Grill the patties for 6 to 8 minutes on each side alongside the pineapple until they are completely cooked through. While the chicken burgers are cooking, mix up the aioli. To assemble the burgers, put 1 tablespoon of aioli on each side of the bun, and place the pineapple on the bottom, the chicken burger on top of that, and finish with arugula and top bun. Makes four burgers.

Banh Mi Burger

Banh Mi

  • 4 brioche buns 
  • 1 pound ground pork 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scallion, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper 

Quick Pickles

  • 1 bunch of radishes, sliced 
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced 
  • 1 cup white vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 

Spicy Soy Mayo

  • ½ cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or tamari 
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed 
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

To make your burger, preheat your grill on high for at least 10 minutes. While the grill is heating, mix the ingredients for the mayo, and place in the fridge. Put the sliced veggies, vinegar, sugar, and salt together for the pickles, and leave at room temperature. Mix the meat with the spices and seasonings, and form into four patties. Do not overwork the meat. Place the patties on the hot grill, and lower the heat to 375. Close the lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until the patty is cooked through and well done, but not dry. To assemble the burger, place a patty on the brioche bun bottom, top with a few of the quick pickles, and slather the top bun with mayo. Makes four burgers.

Grilled Salmon Burger

Grilled Salmon Burger

  • 1 pound of wild salmon, skin removed, chunked
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 3 green onions, trimmedand chopped
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until just combined. Form into patties. Grill on medium heat until browned. Carefully flip and brown the other side. Don’t overcook — these will cook quickly, about 5 minutes on each side should do it. Place patties on sweet Hawaiian burger buns, and add diced avocado, a slice of pineapple, and crisp lettuce, if desired.


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