Classic Diner Hamburger

Main Course

Recipe courtesy of Diner: The best of Casual American Cooking

Serves 4

  • 4 thick red (Spanish) onion slices 
  • 4 thick beefsteak tomato slices 
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1½ lb (660 g) ground (minced) sirloin or chuck
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons bottled chili sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) ice water 
  • 4 large onion rolls or hamburger buns, split
  • ¾ cup (2½ oz/75 g) shredded iceberg lettuce

Classic American Hamburger

Classic American Hamburger

Click image to enlarge



In a small bowl, combine the onion and tomato slices with the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Turn to coat evenly and set aside.

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat an indoor grill or broiler. In a large bowl, combine the meat, salt, pepper, chili sauce and ice water. (The ice water helps to keep the burgers juicy.) Using a fork, stir together until well mixed. Then, using your hands, form the meat mixture into 4 patties each 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, being careful not to handle the meat too much. Set aside.

Place the onion rolls or hamburger buns, cut side down, on the grill rack or a broiler pan; grill or broil until just golden, 2--3 minutes. Transfer to individual plates, cut side up, and brush the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil lightly over the toasted buns.

Position the grill or broiler rack 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat source, then grill or broil the burgers, turning once, for 6 minutes on the first side and 4-5 minutes on the second side for medium-rare to medium.

Place each burger on the bottom half of the toasted bun, top with a slice each of red onion and tomato, and sprinkle with a little of the lettuce. Cover with the top bun and serve immediately.


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