How to Make Your Burger More Awesome

Step up your BBQ game with these expert-approved ingredients.


Photo by Sam Kaplan

Brisket Point Cut

2. Beef Foreshank

3. Chuck Arm: Michael Dulock of the forthcoming M. F. Dulock butcher shop in Somerville prefers a 65/35 meat-to-fat ratio. “This is my go-to burger mix, and probably explains my high cholesterol,” he says. To make it extra-rich and smoky, Dulock suggests throwing some bacon ends into the blend, as well.

4. Pork Shoulder/Pork Fat: “Pork shoulder is what we love in burgers,” says Matt Jennings, chef-owner of Farmstead and La Laiterie in Providence. “It doesn’t have a very strong flavor, so it’s versatile and it tends to take on the flavor of the ingredients that you put with it.”

5. Cold, Cubed Butter: Craigie on Main’s Tony Maws suggests adding this to your meat blend for a succulent patty.


6. Big Ed’s Cheese

7. Gore-Dawn-Zola: Rich, creamy, and mellow, Big Ed’s, a Gouda-style cheese from Wisconsin, is “an incredible melter,” Jennings says. If you’re looking for more-intense flavor, go for the Gore- Dawn-Zola, a raw cows’-milk blue from Highgate Center, Vermont.

8. Caramelized Onions: The intensely savory elements of a burger need balancing, so Dulock relies on caramelized onions “to add some sweetness, while at the same time having enough flavor to complement the meat.”

9. Howard’s Green-Tomato Piccalilli: “It gives you a little bit of sweet-sour, and a bit of spice,” says Seth Morrison, chef at the Gallows. “My dad introduced it to me when I was a kid.”


10. Thomas’ English Muffins: This sturdy breakfast staple gets the vote of both Maws and the Russell House Tavern’s Michael Scelfo. “They are a tad crunchy on the edges, while providing the pockets to absorb juice and flavor,” Scelfo says.


11. Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning:
For a great sear and a flavor-packed patty, sprinkle this blend of salt, garlic, red pepper, black pepper, and paprika onto the meat before grilling, says Jose Gamez, sous chef at the Four Seasons’ Bristol Lounge.

12. Salt and Pepper: “Generously season, and use what most restaurants do for meats: kosher salt and butcher’s-­grind black pepper,” says Sam Monsour, chef at JM Curley in Downtown Crossing.

Next page: Burger Grilling Tips from the Pros >>