Classic American Cheeseburger

I am in a middle of craziness here, and it’s called week of Mika’s birthday parties. Saturday was his party with friends from school, and Tuesday we are having our family over. Two cakes, two menus, two of everything. I totally bought him the cake for his party yesterday, and I am buying one for Tuesday as well. Unless I perform a miracle and produce something at home. All in between this I’ve been trying to get us on a healthy eating routine, which means I have to pull yummines like these cheeseburgers from a few weeks back. It’s been all quinoa and roasted veggies here since the beginning of the month!

Quick funny story from Saturdays party. I didn’t even notice that the cake we ordered from the grocery store had the writing wrong until a friend saw it on the picture and pointed it out. My five year old had a Star Wars themed birthday and the cake was supposed to say ‘May the force be with you, Mika’, but it said ‘Let the force be with you, Mika’! :))))
No one said anything, either they are not that much into Star Wars, or they had a lot on their minds as well. Most likely they were just being nice.

Anyway, let’s get to business. Home made hamburgers are so easy to make, and uncomparably better than the stuff you get in a fast food or even most of other restaurants that serve burgers. I often put some blue cheese in the center of the burger patty because my husband Chris really loves that. I also love my burgers with avocados or arugula. Or both. 🙂 But sometimes we both like to enjoy just a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. Good quality cheddar being the key here.

Classic American Cheeseburger
serves 4

2lbs ground beef (for these burgers I used Black Angus 80/20 ground chuck)
1 1/2 Tbsp of Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute*
*(onion, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato, lemon juice and lemon oil)
4 hamburger buns
8 slices of good quality Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I blended it with about 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, but that is not typical for a classic cheeseburger)

for garnish:

sliced onions
sliced tomatoes

Mix your meat with the seasoning and make into four patties. Now, what I learned on internet somewhere when trying to figure out how to cook a good burger when my grill is not available in the middle of the Winter: place a nicely formed 1/2 pound patty in a very hot cast iron pan (or if you don’t have it, any oven safe pan) and cook on each side for about 1 to 1.5 minutes to form a nicely browned crust. Remove pan from heat and place in oven preheated at 450 degrees for 3-5 minutes.  I like my burgers done medium and 3 minutes worked good for that. I put the cheddar on just the last minute and it melts beautifully, 2 slices on each patty. Yes.
Let them rest for a few minutes while you are assembling the rest of the Cheeseburger.

Toast your buns lightly on the insides and apply mayo (or whatever condiment you like the most) on both sides. I used to do fry sauce (ketchup, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt) on most of my burgers, but my new favorite is mayo blended with cilantro, sometimes with some sriracha  in it. It is a special fresh flavor and addition of sriracha is especially nice on burgers if you add some lamb to your meat.

Slice your onions and tomatoes and get your lettuce ready. Place some lettuce on the bottom of each bun and top with the burger patty. Put some tomatoes and onions on top of that and cover with top part of your bun. I like to add a pickle on the side, not inside the burger, I am very specific like that. Btw, this is a huge burger, you could easily make eight quarter pound patties from this much meat, but we like the meat to bread ratio better like this, and if we have leftovers, even better.

So. You just made your own amazing cheeseburger, and if you didn’t have to grind your own meat (which is awesome to do btw) you could probably have it ready in about the same time it takes you to drive to fast food and back, but it tastes so, so, so much better and satisfying. And most importantly, you know exactly what went in it. I stopped eating burgers outside almost entirely because of that reason, if it looks the same after 5 or 10 years, perhaps I shouldn’t put it in my sons body, or anyone’s. Ever. Give it a try!

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