the cheese burger

Cheese Burger

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Inspired by: chef Geoffrey Zakarian

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 45+ mins

Skill Level: Easy

Cooking method: Stove top with cast iron skillet. NOT ON A BARBECUE

Serves: 4


1 1/2lb. quality 80/20 hamburger blend
salt & pepper
vegetable oil
4 potato hamburger buns, split
4 slices American cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
tomatoes for slicing
red onion for slicing
iceberg lettuce


Step 1
The Sauce
Mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish and vinegar in a bowl; set aside.

Step 2
The Buns
Heat skillet over medium heat; lightly brush with vegetable oil. Toast the buns in the skillet, split-side down; Set aside

Step 3
The Patties
Form patties into 4 equal 1/2 lb size. Season liberally both sides with salt & pepper.
Add oil to cast iron skillet then heat skillet on high until oil starts to smoke. Add patties to the skillet (don’t move them around). Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and turn heat to medium low and add the cheese. Don’t cover or move the patties, just let them cook on low heat in their own fat for 3 minutes.

Turn the heat off, leave the patties in the skillet and wait for 3 more minutes.

Step 4
The Gathering
Gather the tomatoes, red onions, lettuce and build the burger on the toasted bun with some sauce. Enjoy!

grandpa’s thoughts:

First off, polenta is such a magical food. Also known as grits or cornmeal. Whatever you want to call them, just make some. It can be creamy and light, dense and cheesy, or even firm enough to fry or grill. I love polenta! For a side dish, we often think of potatoes (fried, mashed, or baked). But you should try making some polenta. It’s super versatile and can be prepared in so many different ways. When you lay the pork chops over the polenta then drizzle it all with the applesauce you have a winning combination. A definite grandpa crowd pleaser.

You never want to overthink cooking a cheeseburger. Keep it simple and use quality ingredients. Ask your butcher about the hamburger blend (80/20). Again, quality hamburger blend is where it starts.

The next key is the ability to control the heat. The only way to get the needed heat is to use a cast iron skillet, or iron flat top. When you cook hamburgers on an open grill, you have a problem, because all the fat flavoring drips on the coals. You are losing the best part of the burger, the flavor!

A cast iron skillet will also allow you to capture the flavor. That happens when you’re preheating the skillet on high heat. When it’s up to temp, place the patties and watch the fat do its thing. The gradual cool-down will cook the burger to capture all the goodness.

Please use American cheese. It melts perfectly and creates the taste we love in a cheeseburger.

I like potato buns, because they crisp up nicely, taste great, and don’t get in the way of the hamburger.

There you have it. The all American Cheeseburger. Simply Perfect!


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