Best Old-Fashioned Burgers

June 14, 2010

These burgers are unlike any you’ve ever had before. Their combination of tremendously beefy flavor, toasted buns, and classic Thousand Island burger sauce will undoubtedly be the best burger you’ve ever had.  But even still, these hamburgers are fast and easy. This recipe only takes 35 minutes from start to finish; less time than a BBQ.

The secret: Buy Sirloin tips ($9/lb) and boneless short ribs ($6/lb) and “grind” it yourself in your food processor. I almost couldn’t bring myself to spend the $14 on mere burgers, but the whole family was glad I did.

Home ground beef of specific cuts is the secret to these great burgers.

Start by cutting 10-oz of Sirloin tips (flap meat) and 6-oz boneless short ribs into 1-inch cubes. Freeze for 15 minutes until slightly firm. Meanwhile make the burger sauce. Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl: 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon each of pickle relish, sugar, and white vinegar. Then 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

After the meat is ready, run half the meat through food processor using 10 one second pulses.  Repeat with second batch of meet. Handling as little as possible, divide into 4 piles and gently form 4 patties leaving very loose burgers with lots of nooks and crannies. Add kosher salt and pepper on both sides, and refrigerate the patties while toasting the buns.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon butter in regular skillet until foaming subsides, then toast buns for 2 minutes.  Use another 1/2 teaspoon butter for the second batch of buns. Wipe down pan and add 1/2 teaspoon oil. Carefully add the burgers using a spatula and fry in same skillet for 4 minutes on first side, flip and let cook on second side for 2 minutes. Add the American cheese 1 minute before the burgers will be ready. While cooking, prepare the buns with sauce and roughly chopped onion.


  1. During frying, my burgers hadn’t browned sufficiently after 3 minutes, so I cooked the first side for 4 minutes. Similarly, I cooked the second side for 2 minutes.
  2. My supermarket doesn’t seem to have Sirloin tips or Flap meat, so I substituted Skirt Steak which is very similar
  3. My supermarket doesn’t have boneless short ribs, so I used a thick Flanken cut instead (and removed the bones myself).

Rating: 5-stars.
Cost: $14 for six 1/4-lb burgers, about  $2.35 each.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinner time 6:35 PM.

“Grind” in food processor and form loose patties.

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