For these extremely flavorful, deluxe burgers, Noah von Blöm, chef at Arc restaurant in Costa Mesa, California, mixes ground rib-eye with boneless short ribs and bacon. Then he sizzles the patties in a cast-iron skillet set in the coals of a wood fire. At the restaurant, each one weighs a full pound. “People get up from their tables to take pictures,” he says. (Our version is a still-mighty half-pound.) Although you can build a wood fire as von Blöm does, for this grill-friendly version, he suggests charcoal briquets and fruit wood chunks.
4 of 31Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Elaine Johnson
Cherry and Brie Burgers with Rosemary and Grilled Onion
These are only quarter-pounders, but they look heftier because the meat is mixed with ground dried cherries and a little bulgur. The seasonings and cheese take the cherries in a savory direction, keeping the burgers from being too sweet.
7 of 31Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Stephanie Dean and Amy Machnak
Hawaiian Pig-Out Burgers
For a taste of the tropics, top this burger with a combination of sweet and salty spam and pineapple. Finish it with some grilled Maui onion. You can use a grilled Hawaiin sandwich roll for the bun or thick slices from a Hawaiin sweet bread loaf.
8 of 31Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Stephanie Dean and Amy Machnak
Idaho Lamb Burgers
For a tasty twist on a lamb burger, try stacking it with crispy potato chive cakes and Idaho mustard spread. We used Idaho's Lava Lake lamb (lavalakelamb.com) and Lark's Meadow Farms Dulcinea, a Basque-style raw sheep's-milk cheese, also from Idaho (larksmeadowfarms.com).
Arabic spices meet the Persian touch of pistachios in the kefta (skewered ground meat) at Mamnoon in Seattle, where the food combines the owners’ Syrian, Lebanese, and Persian heritage with chef Garrett Melkonian’s Armenian background. We opted for an easier version: burgers.
The magic ingredients in these burgers are the pasilla chiles, roasted on a gas burner or under a broiler 'til nicely blackened. Melt sliced or grated cheddar cheese on top during the last few minutes of grilling.
At Umami Burger restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco, these juicy, full-flavored, mildly spicy burgers are seasoned with Umami Dust and Umami Master Sauce (order at umami.com/shop). Soy sauce makes a good substitute.
These burgers are best simply dressed, with just a bit of ketchup or mayo. Add a few slices of gherkin if you want even more pickle flavor that you get from the capers, chopped gherkins, and shallots inside.
Start with the right meat, then follow our 10-step recipe below. You'll be turning out one great burger after another. Prep and cook time: 30 minutes. Plus: See how to grind your own meat and make 5 delicious variations.