My Own Private Cheeseburger

My Own Private Cheeseburger

If I found out the world was about to end, I’d calmly walk into the kitchen and make this cheeseburger. Then I’d eat it, and if there was still time, I’d make another. Then I’d eat that one. And if the world still hadn’t ended, I’d probably make another and take a nap.

My Own Private Cheeseburger

  • 3 ounces 86-88 grams ground beef*
  • 1 1/4 ounces 36-40 grams grated cheddar cheese**
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 hamburger bun or (soft Kaiser roll)
  • 4-5 dill pickle slices or "chips"
  • Mayo and mustard
  • Oil shortening for frying…yeah what I said…frying***
  1. Get a nice big dutch oven and add enough oil or shortening to be two inches deep. Install your fry/candy thermometer to the side of the pot and crank the heat to medium high. Your thermal destination is 320 degrees F.
  2. Turn on your broiler and position rack in top position. This is a perfect time to use your toaster oven if you have one.
  3. Meanwhile, weigh out the meat portions for however many burgers you want to make. Roll into balls and set aside. Do not refrigerate.
  4. Grate the cheese. If you want 4 burgers, obviously you need 5 ounces total. Six would be 7 1/2, eight would be 10 ounces. Toss this cheese with the spices until all the powder has stuck to the cheese.
  5. Place a thin layer of mayo on the bottom of the buns. Place half the cheese mixture on top of this. Spread mustard on bun tops and place the rest of the cheese on this. You should have half the cheese on the bottoms (on mayo) and half on the tops (on mustard). Place these under the broiler so that the cheese will melt as you cook the burgers.
  6. When the oil hits 320 degrees F, place one of the meat balls on an upside-down sheet pan. Dip a wide metal grill spatula in the hot fat then use it to smash and spread the meat ball out into a 5 to 6-inch-wide disk. It will be irregular around the circumference and that’s good as all those irregularities will become crunchy goodness. The meat will also shrink by a couple of inches.
  7. Gently scrape the patty/wafer off the pan with the spatula and gently drop into the fat. Cook one minute, no more, no less. You can cook up to three patties at a time, but watch the oil temp and don’t let it drop to under 300 degrees F.
  8. Remove meat to a paper towel to drain briefly then place it on the bun bottom right away. Place the pickles on top, then the bun top. The goal: bread/mayo/cheese/meat/cheese/pickles/mustard/bread.
  9. Consume or wrap in foil and hold for up to half an hour.

* Most look for a ground meat that’s no more than 80 percent lean.
** I like to use a mixture of sharp and mild cheddar cheeses.
***Believe it or not, as long as you keep the oil between 300 and 325 degrees F, this will be the most un-greasy burger you’ve ever enjoyed.

Ingredients for Alton Brown's Cheeseburger Recipe



Add yours
  1. 1
    Andrew Kleeger

    This recipe leaves me cold for several reasons: 1) I’m really anti-frying, 2) mustard is for hot dogs, not burgers, 3) no mayo on a burger, thank you very much, 4) seems like a heluvalot of clean-up and mess for a few burgers!
    On the positive side, I do like the idea of grating and seasoning the cheese, and, of course, toasting the bun/roll!
    80/20 fat ratio is OK, but 85/15 is better for you and still plenty enough fat to be tasty. 90/10 makes a pretty dry, tasteless burger. Go any higher than 80/20 and you might as well hit the drive-thru.

  2. 5

    @Jason M Olsen, that’s because you didn’t read the recipe correctly. It calls for 1.25 oz of cheese per burger. The “one area calls for 5 oz. of cheese” that you mention says “If you want 4 burgers, obviously you need 5 ounces total. Six would be 7 1/2, eight would be 10 ounces”. 1.25 x 4 = 5 Pretty self-explanatory.

  3. 7

    I love this recipe, I did use slider patties from Snake River Farms and duck fat to fry, but it was still amazing!!!

  4. 8
    Jeff Hunter

    Wouldn’t it be bread/mayo/cheese/meat/pickles/cheese/mustard/bread instead of bread/mayo/cheese/meat/cheese/pickles/mustard/bread?

  5. 10

    An absolutely amazing burger! Worried about it being greasy, but it so wasn’t! Very cheesy & delicious! Next time I’ll add my typical produce (lettuce & tomato).

  6. 11
    Joshua Lange

    Mr. AB, my wife and I made these from your recent cookbook, but modified them to be sliders. They were MOST delicious my friend!

  7. 12

    Sounds GREAT! Just cannot get beyond what to do with all that slightly used oil…especially when cooking for one. Would definitely make this for a crowd though! TY Alton!

  8. 16

    Best burger I EVER had was a deep fried cheeseburger, from a cart, waterfront Amsterdam, April 1976. No one believes me when I tell them that it wasn’t greasy. Perhaps they will now.

  9. 18

    Dear Mr. Brown,
    My husband requested hamburgers last night for dinner. Until now i have always felt like a hamburger failure. My bugers were always edible and ok but it was never anything that I would get excited about. After his request, I decided i needed to try something new. Like so many times before i said i wonder if alton brown has a recipie? Google coming to my aid, you surely did. We have tried several of your recipies before so i felt confident that it had to be better then what i have made before. I tested it first on myself and my mother in law. I was not disappointed. I felt like it was by far the best burger I had ever made and my mother in law agreed it was delicious. Later last night, I made it for my husband as he got home from work. He agreed it was the best I had made. He really liked it. 3 bites in he says to me ,”you know what would make this better…”
    Then i said , its perfect the way it is and Its Alton Browns favorite. I read him your blurb at the beginning of your post.

    He put ketchup on it anyway…

    Forever a fan,

    • 19

      “You know what would make this better?” I don’t think he was talking about the end of the world or a nap. That’s just a guy’s perspective.

  10. 21

    For bigger burgers I tinkered a bit and found 6 oz of meat flattened to the same diameter cooked between 2 to 2.5 minutes gives similar results just in a bigger package.

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