If you're not the sort of person who plans ahead for your grilling parties, you probably don't have a refrigerator full of beer-marinated chickens or carefully sourced tri-tips right now. But you might have the necessary ingredients for a very good burger. (If you don't even have that, they're pretty easy to get.) So calm down and fire up the grill anyway — you can still throw a terrific party.
As chefs Nancy Silverton, Sang Yoon and Daniel Boulud all know, a great burger is about ingredients and technique. Sure, you can add the fancy stuff if you want, but all you really need is good meat, some basic accouterments and fire.
Do you need a recipe for that? Maybe not, but it can help. To that end, we've collected 17 great burger recipes. As a bonus, here's an 18th, one of L.A.'s finest burgers, the near-legendary burger from Father's Office. Of course, it's not the official burger recipe — Sang Yoon would probably rather give up ice hockey than give that one out — but it's a pretty close approximation.
OUR OFFICE BURGER
Active work time: 45 minutes | Total preparation time: 1 hour, 5 minutes | Serves 4
4 slices applewood-smoked bacon
2 onions, sliced (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 drops liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes, then remove to paper towels to drain. Crumble 1 of the slices and set aside; reserve the rest of the bacon for another use. Measure 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a medium heavy skillet.
2. Add the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Halfway through, stir in the crumbled bacon. At the end of the 20 minutes, stir in the balsamic vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside.
1 1/2 pounds strip steak (preferably dry-aged), ground
1/2 pound rib-eye steak (preferably dry-aged), ground
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 ounce blue cheese
4 ounces Gruyere cheese
4 French demi-baguettes, halved and toasted
1 cup baby arugula
1. Combine the strip and rib-eye steaks and mix in the salt. Shape the meat into 4 (7-inch) oval patties, about 3/4 inch thick.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Fry the burgers, 2 at a time, for 3 minutes, then flip. Top each burger with 1/4 of the blue and Gruyere cheeses. Cook the burgers 3 more minutes for medium.
3. Remove and keep warm; melt the remaining butter in the skillet and repeat with the remaining 2 patties and cheeses.
4. To assemble, place the burgers on the baguettes and top with the onions and arugula, dividing evenly.
Each burger: 991 calories; 2,100 mg. sodium; 184 mg. cholesterol; 46 grams fat; 21 grams saturated fat; 74 grams carbohydrates; 63 grams protein; 6 grams fiber.