Everyone's perception of the "ultimate" burger is different. It really is a matter of taste now isn't it? For me the ultimate burger is a big juicy patty grilled to medium to medium well; slightly pink on the inside and a nice char on the outside. Add to that some plain American cheese that is melted all over the top of the burger. Then factor in some crunchy iceberg lettuce and a couple of slices of garden tomatoes for the burger to rest on. Top off that burger with some caramelized onions and a couple of strips of crispy bacon placed on a poppy seed kaiser roll slathered with good mayonnaise and I am in burger heaven.
But where did the burger originate? Well here in Connecticut we can lay claim to the burger being developed by Danish immigrant Louis Lassen who owned Louis' Lunch in New Haven Connecticut. He started out with a lunch wagon in 1895. It was during the industrial revolution and people wanted something to go so by 1900 they created the burger which was served between two pieces of white bread.
There are many others who lay claims to inventing the burger (hamburger) but according to the Library of Congress, Louis Lassen has been given the credit. Happy to say that generations have owned this now famous landmark in New Haven Connecticut and it is still thriving. They were actually featured some years back on the Food Network and still serve the original hamburger between two slices of toasted white bread.
For this ultimate burger:
- ground beef - 6 oz. per sandwich (I prefer ground chuck for the taste.)
- bacon - 2 strips per sandwich
- American Cheese - 1 slice per sandwich
- iceberg lettuce - as much as you like
- fresh tomatoes - at least 2 slices
- 1 large onion - half moon slices
- Bacon fat
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a frying pan cook up your bacon. We cooked four strips and when it came time to saute the onions we left the bacon fat in the pan and sauteed them in the fat. However if you are cooking lots of bacon, pour some of the fat off before caramelizing the onions.
- Form the patties from the ground beef.
- Place kosher salt and pepper on the burgers to your taste.
- Prep your lettuce leaves and slice your tomatoes.
- Slice the rolls.
- Fire up your grill and clean off the grates.
- When your grill is fired up and ready, place the burgers on the grill and DO NOT press them! You will press all of the good juices out of the burger and end up with sawdust. Seriously, no pressing!
- The burger is ready to flip when the burger says it's ready. Slide your spatula under the burger and if you meet with resistance, leave it for another minute or so. Then when the burger moves easily it is ready to flip.
- Add the cheese during the last minute or so of cooking and put the lid on to help it melt.
- Last is assemble the burgers in any way you want.