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Place ground chuck in a medium-size mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Mix gently to combine, but don’t overwork the meat.
Divide the meat into four equal portions.
Place one portion on a plate and gently press it into a 1-inch, round patty. (The patty should NOT be smooth – leave some craggy edges and don’t press it too flat.)
With your thumb or fingers, press a “moat”, approximately ¼-½ inch from the edge, around the circumference of the burger - be sure the edge of the burger is a little higher than the indentation. This will ensure the burger will flatten out while cooking. Repeat this process with each portion.
Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. When the pan is hot, carefully place the patties in the skillet (no need to grease skillet) leaving some space between each patty.
Cook the burgers until nicely seared and they have browned halfway up the sides.
Flip the burgers and cook to your liking. (*NOTE - To ensure all bacteria has been killed, the FDA recommends cooking burgers to an internal temperature of 160°F.)
If adding cheese: remove the pan from the heat and place the cheese atop the burgers. Cover the skillet and allow the residual heat/steam to melt the cheese.
Serve on toasted buns topped with your favorite toppings.