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The Best Burgers

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1/3 cup soft white bread crumbs
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/3 pounds lean ground beef
4 whole wheat sandwich buns, split and grilled

The Best Burgers

Yes you can have tender and juicy burgers when they are properly cooked to 160°F!

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Most people are very particular about their burgers. They are picky about the meat they use, the way the burgers are formed, what’s added to them, and how they are cooked. But there’s one thing most people forget about burgers: food safety. That’s what makes the best burgers.

The cuts of meat used to make hamburger are often contaminated with really bad bacteria. When the meat is ground, the bacteria are mixed all through it. Then when you cook a burger to rare, medium rare, or medium, those bacteria survive and you can get really sick. Kids are especially susceptible to these illnesses; a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome a type of kidney failure, after an E. coli infection can be deadly.

Cooking ground beef and pork to 160°F is the only way to ensure they are safe. (Ground chicken and turkey must be cooked to 165°F) But when meat is cooked to that temperature, it is usually dry and flavorless.

This recipe fixes all that. (Or you could try my air fryer version!)

A combination of bread crumbs, soy sauce, and milk is added to the beef. This mixture adds moisture and flavor to the meat and ensures that, even when the burger is cooked to well done, it will be juicy and flavorful, i.e., the best burgers!

Now that the burger part is set, let’s talk about the bun and toppings. I always prefer a sturdy bun for my burgers; those fluffy white buns just don’t cut it. I like using ciabatta rolls, English muffins, or dense whole wheat buns. And for toppings, cheese is an absolute necessity, along with a thick and juicy tomato slice, some mustard, mayo, and lettuce.

You, of course, are free to use whatever you want on your fabulous burger.

Why this recipe for The Best Burgers works:

  • The parade of bread crumbs and milk adds moisture to the meat and interrupts the protein fibers, making the burgers tender even though they are cooked to 160°F.
  • A sturdy bun is much better than a soft white bun, although you can, of course, use any bun you’d like.
  • You have to test each burger with a good food thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to a safe temperature. Many people have been sickened after eating ground beef that isn’t cooked to well done. Don’t be one of them!
  • And never ever put a cooked burger back on the same plate you used to take the raw burgers out to the grill. I’m a real nudge about these things because raw hamburger is such a problem food safety-wise.
  • Serve the burgers with Air Fryer Onion Rings. or My Mom’s Potato Salad.


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In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, soy sauce, milk, seasoned salt, garlic powder, marjoram, and pepper and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes.


Add the ground beef and mix gently but thoroughly with your hands until combined.


Form the mixture into four patties, working very gently. Press down in the middle of each patty to form an indentation. This will stop the burgers from puffing up as they grill.


Cook the burgers on a charcoal or gas grill until they register 155°F. Insert the food thermometer into the side of the burger to get the correct reading.


Put the cooked burgers on a clean plate (DON'T use the same one that held the raw meat). At this point you can add cheese. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. The temperature should rise to 160°F during that time. Then serve the burgers on the grilled buns with your favorite toppings.


Air fryer instructions

Form the patties as directed. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.


Place the hamburger patties in the air fryer basket in a single layer, with at least 1-inch spacing between them. Air fry for 5 minutes.


Carefully flip the burgers with a spatula. Air fry for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the burgers reach 155°F. Remove the burgers to a clean plate, cover with foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. The temperature should rise to 160°F.


Toast the buns, cut side down, in the air fryer to 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted. Serve the burgers on the toasted buns with the toppings you want.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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