Cast Iron

Classic Diner Burger

July 19, 2010
1 Rating
Author Notes

With so many fast food choices we forget how great a really good burger can really be. If you use good technique and great home made ingredients you may find hamburger joints needless except for convenience. Start with good beef. If you want to grind it yourself go ahead but if you know your butcher you should trust him to do a good job. I personally like my beef to be from a cow that I think is the best of both worlds. That is, pasture raised and free choice grain fed. That means if the cow wants to eat grain they can or they can also eat just grass. Talking to the farmers they say they usually go for both equally. It is how I remember beef tasting, which is refreshing. There are lots of farmers out there that do a great job raising wholesome beef that never sees a feed lot. The cut of beef I like for ground beef is chuck. Yes it will shrink because of the fat content but it will also have some flavor because there is some fat. Onion rings or fries are a must. Oh yeah, and to my mind a good burger is a treat and not an everyday occurrence so I don't mind really splurging when we do eat them. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a great classic burger. Cooking the onions and burgers in bacon fat gives them a nice extra layer of flavor. The Thousand Island dressing is much better than any secret sauce. - Stephanie —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Classic Diner Burger
  • Serves 4
  • For the thousand island dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 hard boiled egg, shelled and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped bread and butter pickles
  • For the burgers:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 good quality soft white hamburger buns
  • 1 large onion, cut into half inch slices, you should get four.
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • a plate of extra toppings: iceberg lettuce, shredded, American cheese, tomato, and pickles of all sorts
In This Recipe
  1. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ground chuck, worcestershire, lemon juice and salt into a bowl. Mix until well combined. Divide into four equal sized patties that are about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Then season the up side with lots of black pepper.
  2. Place a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon grease and the four slices of onion. Season the onions with salt and pepper. Saute the onions until they are soft and caramelized on each side. When they have browned place them on a sheet tray.
  3. Turn the heat to high and gently place the burgers into the pan, black pepper side down. Season they tops with more black pepper. Sear them until good and cararmelized on each side. Remove to the sheet tray with the onions to let them rest. After 10 minutes slide the tray into the oven and reheat the burgers to your desired temperature. I prefer medium rare to medium.
  4. Butter the insides of each bun. Wipe out the skillet and then toast each bun. Assemble the burgers with the onion, Thousand Island dressing and serve.
  5. For the Thousand Island dressing:
  6. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until combined.
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