The Best Burger?

March 10th, 2011 by Graham

The editors at Food and Wine have picked the best burgers in the country. Chicago is being represented by Custom House and Duchamp’s burgers, which I’m sure are fantastic, however, I kind of feel like the best burgers are the ones closest to home. I’m personally partial to a couple of $5 burgers at taverns within walking distance of my apartment in Andersonville. But to really get close to home is to, well, make the burgers in your kitchen. I’d thought I’d share a couple of things that I feel like have helped me to make better burgers, without having to leave the house.

Find a ground beef that has a fair amount of fat, say around 20%.

Don’t go overboard with your patty size, it’s not uncommon to see places selling 10oz to 12oz ‘Pub Burger’ patties. In my opinion, you’re better off sticking to a more proportional 6oz or 7oz (if you really need a pound of meat you can always have more than one).

Burgers are best when the meat has a good carmelization, so use a little butter and a very hot cooking surface.

As with grilling anything, put your burger on the grill and let it be. Don’t flip it back and forth, and don’t press down on it–you’ll lose  all those wonderful juices.

Never, ever serve your burger with a cold bun.

In my humble opinion, a burger is best served medium rare, maybe even medium. Save the rare for your steaks… undercooked ground beef is cold and chewy. Look for a nice pink (not red) center.


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3 Responses to “The Best Burger?”

  1. avatar Zachary Hanz says:

    I agree that you don’t need to overdo it on size for a great burger. Some of favorites in Chicago have been simple ones from affordable places like DMK, Bad Apple, and Revolution Brewing Company.

  2. avatar vabulous says:

    I too live in Andersonville. Would you mind sharing your favorite burger places in the hood?

    • avatar Graham Hoppe says:

      I’m partial to the burgers at Moody’s Pub on Broadway, my favorite though is Edgewater Lounge on Ashland and Bryn Mawr. Excellent.

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Graham Hoppe was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and currently lives on Chicago’s north side. In 2007, Graham received his BFA with a concentration in Sculpture and Sound from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After attending Kendall College, working at a West Loop Cajun/Creole restaurant, and producing at WGN radio in Chicago, he found his way to the Chopping Block. He enjoys traditional country music and blues, playing the mandolin and making dinner with his girlfriend, Amy.

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