The Best Hamburger Recipe (and Famous Secret Sauce)

If you are looking for the BEST Hamburger Recipe, look no further. Juicy beef, melty cheese, toasted buns, and Famous Secret Sauce take this burger over the top.

Best homemade hamburgers recipe including special sauce

I don’t think that there is anything better than a perfectly grilled hamburger. With this easy recipe, you will always end up with a juicy, flavorful burger.

 

How to Make Juicy Hamburgers

When it comes to making a juicy burger, the secret is in the fat percentage of the ground beef.

For most recipes on this website, we use a super lean ground beef – it helps cut back on calories and is overall a little more healthy. However, for juicy hamburgers, you will want to do just the opposite and pick a ground beef that has a higher fat percentage.

You may have noticed at the store that ground beef will have 2 percentages on the packaging – the first percentage is lean and the second percentage is fat.

Juicy, flavorful burgers will always come from beef with a higher percentage of fat (more fat also means more flavor in your burger!). We recommend using a 80/20 beef for a happy balance between a juicy and not overly greasy hamburger.

Many chefs will even say to go with a 70/30, but we find that sometimes that can be a little too greasy for our tastes.

If you go higher than an 80/20 beef (such as an 85/15), keep in mind that the beef will dry out faster when cooking – so keep an eye on it while it cooks.

homemade burgers made from the best hamburger recipe

How to shape the perfect burger

To make your hamburger the perfect shape, we highly recommend using a hamburger press (they are definitely worth the investment). We love that they give you a perfectly even and consistently-shaped burger every time (they also make the best stuffed burgers!).

If you don’t have a hamburger press, I usually just grab a fistful or about a 1/4 – 1/5 of the pound of beef, shape it into a ball, then press it out with my palms until my desired thickness. You will want to be sure that you make your hamburger just a little wider than the bun and then they will be the perfect size when they are finished cooking.

How to keep your hamburger patties from falling apart

Some of our readers have made comments that their hamburger patties have fallen apart on the grill. Here are some tips to keep them held together:

1. Keep your meat cold – the colder your meat is, the more likely that it will stay together. Shape the hamburger into patties and stick them back in the fridge until you are ready to cook. When you shape your patty, your hands actually transfer a lot of heat into the meat and they need to cool down. They will stay together much better after this.

2. Handle your patties as little as possible – if you over-handle your hamburger patties, they are much more likely to fall apart. Add your seasonings, give it a quick stir, then let it be.

3. Do not over-flip your patties – when cooking your hamburger patties, you are only going to want to flip your burgers one time – NO MORE. When your patties are still a little cold, they will hold together well. When they are finished cooking, they are solid and firm. However, when they are in-between these stages, they are flimsy and will fall apart. Flip them as little as possible – once is enough! By only flipping them once, you are allowing them to completely cook on one side, giving you a good base to flip from and keep them from falling apart.

4. Add an egg – if you have tried all these things and still struggle with a hamburger that falls apart, add an egg! It will work as a binding agent to hold the ground beef together. You won’t be able to taste it in the meat and hey – it’s some added protein!

5. Don’t add liquid – a lot of people will add Worcestershire sauce or BBQ sauce to their beef, but this will only make the beef fall apart while cooking. If you want the flavors of the sauce, brush it on the hamburger while it’s grilling instead of mixing it in.

How to make hamburgers including our secret sauce

The perfect burger toppings

  • red onion
  • lettuce
  • cheese (Swiss, pepper jack, American . . . anything goes!)
  • tomatoes
  • pickles
  • avocado
  • jalapeno peppers
  • banana peppers
  • fried onion
  • mushrooms

The Special Sauce

In addition to the seasoning in the burger itself, this sauce puts our hamburger recipe over the top. The sauce is a mixture of ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and relish. Sometimes in Utah we also call this “Fry Sauce” and we love it for dipping our Sweet Potato Fries.

 

Serves: 5

The Best Hamburger Recipe (and amazing secret sauce)

10 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

22 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

    Burger:
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 80/20 - fattier meat means a juicier burger!)
  • 5 sesame seed buns
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • Seasoned salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • Secret Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup relish
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoned salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, grated cheese, bbq sauce, and seasonings. Shape patties that are about 1 inch thick (about 5 patties).
  2. Turn grill up to high and let it get hot.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and place the burgers on the grill. Allow this side of the patty to cook for about 4-6 minutes, but make sure it does not burn. Then flip the burger over and cook until done.
  4. For the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients and whisk until well mixed. Taste and adjust ingredients to your liking.
  5. Assemble the burgers and serve with the special sauce and other hamburger toppings of choice.
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Comment on this Recipe

35 Responses to “The Best Hamburger Recipe (and Famous Secret Sauce)”

  1. This sauce is very similar to the Survival Sauce I make (to help us deal with not having In-N-Out Burger in Georgia) -- I'll have to try the Worcestershire sauce! And we've learned from Five Guys Burgers & Fries to shake some McCormick Cajun seasoning on our fries!
  2. Lorina
    I am making these right now. I tasted a small piece of the cooked beef, and it is delicious! However, the patties seem to be falling apart on my grill. Did anybody else have this problem? Any suggested remedies? Thanks so much!
  3. I have tried to make these twice but I cannot get them to stay together on the grill. They always crumble as I start cooking them. I eat them in crumbles because the flavor is so yummy. But I'm wondering if you have any tips to helping me keep them from crumbling.
  4. For those of you having problems with the ground beef falling apart: First, use ground beef with a HIGHER fat content when grilling burgers. AT MOST 80% lean. Second, after forming your burgers, put them on a plate or separate with wax paper and put them in the FREEZER for at least an hour. Keep in mind your cheese and sauces have a lot of salt in them, so go easy when seasoning the meat. And this "secret sauce" is essentially Thousand Island dressing (ketchup, mayo and relish) with Worcestershire sauce in it.
    • Sometimes we add bbq sauce to add a little kick to the secret sauce. It's just whatever you prefer. In Utah we serve this secret sauce at Arctic Circle and Crown Burger and we call it "Fry Sauce" here in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. It's amazing with fries too! Happy National Utah day!
    • Also, LEAVE ANY LIQUIDS OUT UNTIL AFTER COOKING. If you put liquids such as BBQ sauce into your meat before forming, it will disintegrate the beef on the grill. At most, maybe a few drops of liquid smoke or toasted sesame oil, but those can also be added AFTER cooking. Others will use binders such as eggs or panko bread crumbs, with varying results.

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