The Perfect Tavern Style Bacon/Beef Burger

Andy Anderson !


Some people like their burgers smashed into the griddle until they are as thin as a pancake; others prefer a more moist and juicy burger. Some like them rare (that’s me) while others like them burned to a crisp. And then there are the bread type and condiments.

In truth, the perfect burger is based on who you are, and what you like. This is my definition of the perfect burger

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

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20 Min
10 Min
Stove Top



14 oz
chuck steak, coarsely ground
2 large
hamburger buns
2 Tbsp
mayo, for toasting the buns
cheese, the sharper the better, optional
2 slice
slab bacon, optional, but tasty
salt, kosher variety, to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
condiments, your choice


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The burger is smashed into the griddle at high temperature, and is usually crisp on the edges, but rather juiceless (about 4 ounces). We have a restaurant chain in Wichita called: Freddy’s Frozen Custard, and they produce the perfect example of a griddle burger.

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Big, thick and juicy well browned on the outside, and a bit of pink on the inside (about 7 ounces).

We’re going to concentrate on a nice juicy tavern bacon/beef burger.

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To salt, or not to salt… that is the question
There are two thoughts on this one: Do you salt the outside just before cooking, or do you mix the salt in with beef before cooking? NEVER mix the salt in with the beef because it plays havoc with the proteins, making the inside of the burger a big tight mass. We will salt the burger on the outside when we cook it. Let me say that again… NEVER add salt when mixing up your ground beef. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

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Not possible, then get your butcher to grind it for you. Most will do it for free. When you purchase prepackaged beef is accomplished using a fine grind. With a fine grind the fat and beef are so finely mixed, that the burger becomes dense and has little mouth feel. Tell your butcher that you want a course grind.

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Get yourself a nice piece of chuck steak with a bit of fat. The ratio of fat to beef should be between 20 to 25 percent. If you go lower, the burger will taste dry. If you go higher it can cause problems like shrinkage as the burger cooks. And keep the meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. You want those fat molecules nice and cold when they hit that hot pan.

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8Gather your ingredients.

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9Coarsely grind the meat, or have that job performed by your local butcher.

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10Chef’s Tip: Do not use your food processor to grind the meat. The whirling action of that S-blade will cause the fat and meat molecules to bind together, and produce a much denser burger.

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11Chef’s Tip: If you’re not ready to cook the burgers place the ground beef back into the refrigerator.

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12Chef’s Note: In this batch I ground up two slices of slab bacon, along with the chuck roast. It makes a HECK of a burger.

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13Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat

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14Brush the mayo on the cut sides of the buns and then lay, cut side down in the hot pan.

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15Cook until nice and toasty, about 2 to 3 minutes.

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16Chef’s Note: The toasting of the bun is optional; however the crunch creates a desirable mouth feel, and stays together better when dealing with a juicy pub burger. I’m using Kaiser rolls for these burgers because they are the perfect balance between a harder roll, like a Ciabatta, and the more traditional soft hamburger roll.

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17Remove the toasted rolls from the pan, and increase the heat to medium high.

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18Remove the burger from the refrigerator and form into two patties.

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19Chef’s Tip: Don’t squeeze and don’t press it together, just lightly form two patties.

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20As soon as the pan heats up, add the burgers.

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21Chef’s Tip: As soon as the burger hits the pan is should sizzle. If it doesn’t, your pan isn’t hot enough.

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22Season the tops of the burgers with some salt and pepper.

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23Allow them to sit, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes.

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24Slide a thin spatula under them and flip.

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25Season with a bit more salt and pepper, and allow them to sit for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

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26Chef’s Note: If you’re adding cheese, do it as soon as you’ve flipped and seasoned the meat. Most people don’t allow the cheese enough time to melt properly.

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28Remove from the pan, place on the buns, and add your favorite toppings.

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29One of the toppings that I use, and everyone loves, is my secret hot cheese sauce.

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30There you go a classic pub burger with some of my homemade chips. Enjoy.

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31Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Soy Free