Francine Maroukian
for Valet.
Day 4

The Burger Blueprint


By Tim Love, chef and owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and The Love Shack, Fort Worth, TX.


The percentage of Americans that prefer to grill indoors.

Meat Mix

Finding a grind with the right meat/fat ratio is the key to a good burger. Ask your butcher for 50% trimmed brisket and 50% prime tenderloin chain meat. (This is the side meat attached to the tenderloin often used as "tips"). Substitution option: 50% brisket and 50% untrimmed prime skirt.

* Generously season, using 1 Tbsp coarse salt, 2 tsp cracked black pepper per pound of meat.


Gather seasoned meat into a ball and let it sit at room temperature for 4-5 minutes. This allows the meat juices to bind.

Depending on size of the burger you want, use the top of a quart takeout container or a large jar lid and press down to create a perfectly round patty without handling the meat too much. This will also keep the edges from cracking because it applies consistent pressure throughout the patty.


Over a hot grill, the cooking time for a 1/3 lb burger is 2.5 minutes per side for medium. (Make your adjustment from that formula.) Add a slice of American cheese to the burger during the last minute of the second side flip and let it melt down into a dome, covering the burger.

It's important to never press down on your burger while it's cooking. It won't speed up the cooking process. All you'll do is you lose valuable juices.

Buns & Topping

It might take a bit of a search to find the right bun. It should be "substantial" because you don't want the juice from the burger or any of the toppings to "melt" the bun away. However, you don't want an overly-bready bun because then you lose the taste of the burger.

Split buns and toast inside halves only because you want the outside to be soft to the touch. Top the bottom side with the burger. Add shredded iceberg lettuce—why mess with a good thing?—bread and butter pickles and a thin slice of ripe tomato.

Sauce It

Use a mixture of ketchup and mayo, in a 1-2 ratio, with some chopped pickles and onions (or even some chopped jalapenos if you prefer a little "kick"). Spread on the top inside half of the bun and layer over your burger pile, pressing down lightly to seal the deal.


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