Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Immigrants to the United States from German-speaking countries brought with them some of their favorite foods, such as Hamburg Steak. The Germans simply flavored shredded low-grade beef with regional spices, and both cooked and raw, it became a standard meal among the poorer classes. Sailors who had visited the ports of Hamburg, Germany and New York, brought this food and term "Hamburg steak" into popular usage. To attract German sailors, eating stands along the New York city harbor offered "steak cooked in the Hamburg style". It is believed that the first hamburger served on a bun was made by Oscar Weber Bilby of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1891.
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground chuck (20% fat)
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 4 slices American cheese
- 4 potato rolls (such as Martin's or Oroweat)
- Divide meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 oz. each). Place 1 portion on a work surface. Cup your hands around the meat and begin to gently shape it into a rounded mound. (Use light pressure as you shape so you don't pack the meat too tightly.)
- Lightly press down on the top of the meat with your palm to gently flatten it. Continue rotating and cupping the meat, patting the top of it occasionally, until you've formed a 4"-diameter, 3/4"-thick patty. Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the center to help keep the burger flat as it cooks. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining portions.
- Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Season one side of patties with salt and pepper; place on grill, seasoned side down. Grill until lightly charred on bottom, about 4 minutes. Season other side, turn, and top with cheese. Grill to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for medium. Transfer burgers to buns and let stand for 3 minutes before serving.
- NOTE: Spatulas were made for flipping, not pressing on the patty. Hear that hissing sound when you do? That's all the flavorful juices dripping on the coals—they belong in the burger.
- NOTE: Hamburgers are often served with lettuce, bacon, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese and condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and relish. Feel free to indulge!