4 hamburger rolls
1 pound hamburger or ground beef
2 slices cheese
¼ head lettuce, in pieces
1 tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced


Preheat grill to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix hamburger lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Make 4 patties of about equal size. Do not press hamburger mix too tightly as this will remove air pockets and cause juices to run out of hamburger. Also, push center of hamburger lightly with thumbs to avoid a high center when cooking.
2. Place hamburgers on a heated grill (low to medium) at about 350 to 400 degrees F. Turn once after about 7 minutes. After turning, place piece of cheese on two of the hamburger patties and cook about 5 more minutes.
3. Butter hamburger rolls on the inside and place on grill a few minutes before hamburgers are ready.
4. Remove hamburgers, place on roll and garnish with as desired. Suggested garnish includes lettuce, tomato and onion. Use condiments as desired.

Recipe courtesy of Julie Geary, Classic Cooks Catering, 2012.

It is estimated that 13 billion hamburgers are consumed every year. Who invented the hamburger sandwich? The legend is that Luois' Lunch in New Haven Connecticut is where the hamburger sandwich was created in 1895. The story goes that Luis Lassen, the proprietor, was grinding some leftover beef trimmings andc a customer came in and said he wanted something to eat that he could eat on the run and could be cooked right away. Louis grabbed his ground beef, cooked it and served between 2 pieces of bread.

There are also stories about something called hamburger being on the menu at Delmonico's restaurant in New York city in the 1870's. In any case, Louis' Lunch is still serving their original hamburger sandwich that made them famous. The beef patty is made from blending 5 different meat varieties and cooked in the same cast iron grills that have been used since 1898. Each burger is served on toast and the only garnish allowed is cheese, tomato or onion.

Julie Geary of Classic Cooks Catering grills her burgers to perfection using a few tricks she has learned over the years. Geary likes to use ground angus beef that is not too lean, about just 90% (which means 10% fat). She seasons with just salt and pepper. Geary also likes to keep the patty loose, not squeezing the air out of the patty. "If you squeeze out all of the air, the juice has nowhere to go except outside of the burger," according to Geary. It will make a drier hamburger. Also, for the same reason, you do not want to press the burger down with the spatula when it is on the grill.

Another trick Geary does is to make a patty and then gently push the center down with her thumbs, flattening it a bit to avoid a patty with a high center. "I don't even remember who it was that taught me but I do it all of the time," says Geary.

The grill should be about 350 to 400 degrees F. Total cooking time will be about 12 minutes, 7 minutes on the first side and turned to cook on the other side about 5 minutes. If you want to make a cheeseburger, add the cheese after turning. This is also the time to add your buttered roll so that everything will finish at the same time.

Like many patrons at Louis' lunch, Geary does not seem to want any garnish or condiments except the cheese. After tasting, she says simply "Summer is back. Hamburgers on the grill."

Grilled Hamburgers