The All-American Cheeseburger from America's Table

A cheeseburger in paradise, all-American style.

A cheeseburger in paradise, all-American style.  (Courtesy Lea Berman)

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Sometimes you just MUST have a burger.  My personal favorite, is the Shake Shack burger, which reminds me a lot of the burgers I used to make as a teenager at the snack bar of the local golf course: thick, high-quality beef, real American cheese, chopped onions and a fluffy egg bread bun.  

This burger recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.   If you only buy two cookbooks a year, this should be one of them.   Keller has put together the best comfort food recipes in one volume, and every recipe I’ve tried is just right.  For his burger, he blends several cuts of beef: sirloin, chuck and brisket, to get the right ratio of fat to protein for the hamburger patty.  It’s worth the extra effort. - Lea Berman, America's Table


  • 1 pound beef sirloin
  • 1/2 pound beef brisket
  • 1/2 pound beef chuck
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • American cheese – 4 thick slices
  • 4 Brioche buns
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 8 green leaf lettuce leaves
  • 1 large white onion


Step 1

  • Ask your butcher, or the meat department at the grocery store to grind alternating pieces of the sirloin, brisket and beef chuck. If you want to do this yourself, cut meat into 1-inch pieces and grind alternating cuts of meat.

Step 2

  • Add salt and pepper. Form meat into 1-inch thick patties, but do not overwork the meat.

Step 3

  • Cook over medium high heat, for at least two minutes on each side, or meat will stick to grill. Grill for another few minutes. If you like a medium rare burger, put cheese on burger while it’s rare plus, allowing a minute for the cheese to melt.

Step 4

  • Lightly toast the insides of the bun on the grill, to give a crunchy base and top for the burger.
  • When building the burger, put the lettuce on the bottom of the burger first, to keep the juices from the meat from soaking the bottom bun. Then pile on the burger, tomato and rings of onions, before topping with other condiments.