Dinner Recipes

How to Make the Best Burger & Burger Sauce

First, let us say that we love all kinds of burgers, from regular old cheeseburgers to super fancy fully-loaded burgers. For us, the thing that takes any burger from good to great is balance — it’s not about the particulars so much as having the beef, condiments, and bun in all the right proportions. That said, this burger is the best because it’s fantastic in all its particulars!

It starts with 80% lean ground beef, which is our most popular grind for burgers. That 20% fat makes all the difference in a hot skillet: the burgers char up beautifully on the outside, and stay juicy on the inside. Then come the toppings! We’ve used Havarti cheese on the burger because it’s a smooth melter, and it has a creamy, salty sweetness that’s nice with the condiments, a tangy burger sauce to keep things moist — and our famous, smoky sweet and crispy bacon jam. A little cool, shredded lettuce, and we’re ready to talk bun.

We like a soft bun, not too dense or bready. The idea is to have enough bun to hold everything together, but not so much that it dominates the burger — it should smoosh down a little and meld with the burger, cheese, and toppings.

The result of all of this careful and yet not terribly fussy layering is a perfect bite: juicy burger, salty cheese, sweet, chewy bacon jam, and the burger sauce and lettuce pulling it all together. Now that’s a burger to write home about!

Our tip: We’ve made our burgers double-decker because it’s fun, but this recipe works great with a single burger too. If you’re not sold on 80% lean beef, check out our Home Cook’s Guide to Ground Beef — it’ll give you the low down on the different fat ratios and all the beef grinds Gelson’s produces in-house.


1 lb 80% lean ground beef

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

8 slices Havarti cheese

4 soft burger buns

2 Tbsp butter

½ cup bacon jam

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Burger sauce (recipe below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Make the burger sauce (recipe below) and set it aside.
  2. Divide the ground beef into 8 burgers, roll them into balls, and season them liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron pan or griddle over medium-high until it’s hot, brush on the grapeseed oil, and then add the burgers, pressing them down with the back of a spatula.
  4. Cook the burgers until they’re crispy, about 3 minutes, and then flip and cook the second side.
  5. While burgers are cooking, lightly butter the buns and toast them in the oven until warmed through and lightly crispy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Place a slice of cheese on each burger, and then stack patties, so you have 4 double-decker burgers. Allow the cheese to melt.
  7. To assemble each burger: spread burger sauce on the bottom half of the bun, top with lettuce, burger patties, and 2 tablespoons of bacon jam. Spread burger sauce on the top bun, set it on the burger, and you’re ready to go.


1 ¼ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp roasted red pepper, rough chopped
2 Tbsp dill relish
6 shakes Tabasco sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste


In a food processor, combine all the sauce ingredients and pulse until incorporated but not puréed.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.