Traditional Southern Burger


When making burgers, I prefer 85 percent lean, ground chuck. It offers a great balance of taste and juiciness. If the ground chuck in your grocery store is labeled 80 percent lean, ask the butcher to grind an 85 percent lean especially for you. Normally, they will. Additionally, don't panic when reading the ingredients listed below. Although most burgers call for ground meat, salt and pepper only, you will prefer the flavor of this recipe.


  • 2½ pounds ground chuck
  • ½ cup minced onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsps melted butter

Light a charcoal or gas grill according to manufacturer's directions. When using charcoal, arrange the coals on one side of the pit prior to lighting. When white hot, spread them evenly over that half side. If using a gas grill, set one burner on high and one on low.

To mix the burgers, place the meat along with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently and briefly blend the meat and seasonings to avoid overworking, which tends to toughen the burger. An under-worked burger will retain its tender, juicy texture. Divide the meat into 6 equal portions and form the patties about 4 inches in diameter. Before grilling, I arrange all of my fixings which include 6 leaves of lettuce, 6 fresh, ripe tomato slices at room temperature, 12 dill pickle slices and your favorite condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

Prior to placing the burgers on the grill, brush one side with melted butter. Place the butter-side down over the hot coals or burner and, using a spatula, flip the burgers after 2 minutes but do not press down on the meat as this will only squeeze out the juices. Continue to flip every 2 minutes until the burgers done to your liking. I suggest 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium and 14 minutes for well done. If you wish to coat the burgers with a unique and creative sauce, I suggest brushing them during the last 2 minutes of cooking with my root beer barbecue sauce (see recipe). When the burgers are cooked, move them over to the opposite side of the grill to keep warm and toast the hamburger buns over the hot side. If you wish to have cheeseburgers, place the cheese on top of the burgers once they have been moved to the cool side of the grill.

Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

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