You can haz America's best cheeseburger
October 26th, 2010
11:45 AM ET
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All National Cheeseburger Day coverage

Chuck out everything you ever knew about making cheeseburgers, and get ready to beef up your burger repertoire.

Named the best burger in America by The Food Network, the 10 o’clock burger from Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta relies on fresh ingredients made from scratch. Executive Sous Chef Jason Paolini showed patrons how to make the famous burger at Taste of Atlanta over the weekend.

“The secret is making everything from scratch,” Paolini says. “We grind our own meat daily, we have a bakery that makes our own bread, we make our own pickles, we make our own ketchup and mustard. That’s what makes it so delicious.”

Don’t have a meat grinder? Don’t sweat it. Paolini gives some tips on how to replicate his masterpiece from home, with as much hassle as you’re willing to sacrifice.

1. Bake your own bread

Holeman & Finch bakes its own bread, and Paolini suggests doing the same at home if possible. If not, buy fresh-baked rolls.

“One of the good ways to tell a good burger bun is if it has some good sponge action, so when you squeeze it, it comes back,” he says. “That way, it will absorb some of the juices from the meat.”

Paolini uses a French-style roll and butters and toasts the inside of each bun before fitting with a burger. He also uses buns that are the same size as the burger patties to ensure that each bite is the same.

“Toast the buns in the skillet, so just the inside of the bread is toasted and the outside is still soft and has that nice bread texture,” he says.

2. Use fresh ground meat

If you don’t have a meat grinder at home (and really, who does?), you should be able to get fresh ground meat from “any decent butcher around town,” Paolini says. The 10 o’clock burger is made from one part chuck and one part brisket, equally distributed.

Each patty should be 4-ounces each, with two patties per burger. “We patty them thin so that when you cook them, all the fat renders out, which creates a good, juicy burger,” Paolini says.

Salt one side of each burger and place salt-side down on a griddle or sauté pan. Burgers should be cooked medium, with the inside of the patty left slightly pink.

3. Add red onions and Kraft American cheese

Once you’ve flipped your burgers and salted the tops, add sliced red onions on top of one of the burger patties and top both with one slice of Kraft American cheese.

“That helps cook the onions a little bit while retaining that raw, crisp flavor,” Paolini says.

But Kraft singles? Really?

“The idea is that it’s a classic American burger,” Paolini says. “We use Kraft American cheese because of the way it melts.”

4. K.I.S.S (Keep it simple, stupid)

Don’t overdo it on the condiments.

“You can get a burger with ten different things on it – mushrooms and onions and lettuce and tomato and foie gras and cheese,” Paolini says. “We wanted to just keep it simple and make it perfect.”

Holeman & Finch adds only red onion, American cheese and homemade pickles to its burgers, with its very own ketchup and mustard on the side.

“If you can find good bread and butter pickles, French’s Mustard and Heinz Ketchup … you’ll come pretty close to recreating it,” he says.

5. Serve with fries and a bubbly beverage

What’s more American than French fries? (Besides, you know, Kraft singles?) Holeman & Finch serves its burger with a side of homemade fries, made from Idaho potatoes.

Add a beer to the palate or wash it down with your standard soft drink.

“The idea is that it’s a classic, so eating a burger and drinking a Coca-Cola out of a glass bottle is great,” Paolini says.

The burger might be “classic,” but it’s certainly not ordinary. It’s just simple.

“Each ingredient can stand on its own,” Paolini says. “You don’t really need more.”

All National Cheeseburger Day coverage

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Filed under: Bite • Burgers • Dishes • Make • Sandwiches • Techniques & Tips


soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    SO. . . make EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH: Bun, ground beef, pickles, even the spread but go AHEAD and use that KRAFT SINGLE! LOL

    July 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  2. alan

    the worst cheeseburger I ever had was just wonderful........

    June 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  3. MrYumYum

    5 guys is disgusting. Everybody is paranoid about e-coli. 4-ounce patties and Kraft cheese. Yeccch. 12 ounce burger. Burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. Cheese optional. If you're going to eat a burger, eat a real burger. At least you die happy.

    May 31, 2014 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Joe Below

      You are incorrect.

      May 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  4. tm1946

    Best burgers, my back yard.

    Like a coating of mixed mustard and ketchup after totally cooked under cheese. No one has notice it yet but my burgers are never dry.

    Get good meat, walk by the stuff at supermarkets that look like bricks, they are. Pay a little extra and your grandkids will tell their parents – why aren't your burgers as good as grandpas.

    May 31, 2014 at 8:46 am | Reply
  5. mickinmd

    The cooking instructions to leave the inside a little pink are ok, but you have to practice the proper pan or grill temperature so that the inside reaches 160F before the outside is burnt or the meat is dried out.

    An EXCELLENT way that trained chefs recommend keeping the meat juicy is to mix a panade into the ground beef. A panade is bread soaked with milk and is usually made of tiny pieces of bread, but 2 pieces of bread torn into small pieces and then dampened with milk and mixed into 1 lb of ground beef results in fine, juicy hamburgers.

    May 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  6. Va Chef

    If you are in Virginia...two of my favorites are Ray's Hell Burger (the best I have ever had) in Arlington (ok, almost Washington DC) and Smitty's Better Burger in Hampton (sorry these are like three hours apart from one another) serves a mean burger in a drive-in environment at very economical prices. The free range bison burger at Corner Pocket in Williamsburg is nothing to sneeze at either! Five guys is the best chain burger I have ever had (but way overpriced).

    May 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  7. slawson

    Best burgers so far I've tested in GA is Cheeseburger Bobby's and California Dreaming...Yummy!!!

    May 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  8. w2lucky

    I do enjoy chain burgers like Five Guys and In n Out occasionally, but when I want something to really enjoy, by far the best I've ever had is at Helvetia Tavern – 15 minutes west of Portland, Oregon. Awesome with a Black Butte Porter and their homemade fries.

    May 30, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  9. Gregor

    best burgers and mcdonalds McDonalds

    May 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  10. Knut

    Just back from a recent trip to Tokyo. Enjoyed great burgers in Rhoppongi, but also the suggest Tonkotsu Ramen. What a combo!. Thanks IX. This is as 'good as it gets'.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  11. Whimpy

    I'z gladly givez u sum monez 2morro fur a chezzy burger today.

    May 30, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
    • MuttMutt

      Sounds like Whimpy moved to the hood. Old Whimpy says "I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday, for a hamburger today"

      May 31, 2014 at 7:08 am | Reply
  12. Paul

    Kraft Singles?! Thank god I live in Sydney, Australia – At least chef Justin North's famous Wagyu beef burgers use top grade swiss cheese.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:38 am | Reply
    • MikeyH

      Using plastic American cheese on a burger is a travesty. I only use real cheese on my burgers.

      May 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  13. martha

    Just reading your recipes made me hungry..I seldom eat hamburgers but I will mince my own meat which I always do anyway, and make some real american burgers for lunch tomorrow!!! With kraft cheese, pickles and everything. My son loves them.

    November 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  14. Simon

    I'm sorry, nothing with American cheese on it can be called the best of anything. I also take exception to a burger that cannot be eaten using a human jaw to be called the best since it cannot be eaten in the manner a burger has to be eaten. If you have to dismantle it and eat it with a knife and fork it isn't a good buger.

    November 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  15. Allen

    And what do they charge for this? $20?

    November 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  16. ruby35

    No Kraft singles allowed on my burgers.
    Plus, there is no way for me to eat a hamburger without tomato. It's simply impossible.
    Sounds delicious otherwise.

    November 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  17. DP

    I had this burger over the weekend. WOW. It is really as good as they say.

    November 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  18. Mike B

    They say Kraft American Cheese...NOT Kraft Singles! Very different stuff from a flavor and texture POV...singles are nasty and a waste of wrapping.

    November 2, 2010 at 9:03 am | Reply
  19. frenchbungler

    My opinion on the best $1 cheeseburger available and truly one of the last best bargains in America for a dollar...McDonald's McDouble is at the top of my list!

    November 2, 2010 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • Ozzycheebo

      I would just like to second your comment! I also love the McDouble and you cant beat the price!! Went last night and ordered four of them! Two for then and the other two for later! And might i add, a large order of their frenchfries please!! :)

      May 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  20. CJ

    As a journalist and burger-addicted aspiring foodie, I'm insulted that a respected outlet like CNN would suggestion such an inferior cheese, and more-so that it would mention it by brand name. But mostly I'm incensed that the misspelled and gramatically-incorrect title is nothing more than a rip-off of the worst of popular culture to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
    There's a special place for this article right where foodie hell and journalism hell intersect.

    November 2, 2010 at 4:09 am | Reply
    • CJ

      Ok, ok, so it was the chef who suggested it. The author just repeated it, tossing the brand name about–first in a paraphrase, then in her own words, and then in a direct quote. Still, I think it was unnecessary. And I still think the title is inexcusable. (I have no way of knowing whether it was the author's decision or the editor's, so I blame the company as a whole.)

      November 2, 2010 at 4:21 am | Reply
  21. Ian

    Only in America is some clown going to sing the praises of a handmade burger on his own baked bread, no doubt all 'sourced" to "local only", charge $20 for it, then top it with processed cheese.

    LMAO, seriously – you had me until you got to the cheese, like about 300 of the 316 posts . . . What is this, a Kraft commercial? Also interesting and VERY INSULTING is that the meta tag says "you can haz the WORLD'S best cheeseburger". Get over yourselves, please – it's a meat sandwich, and you didn't exactly invent it, in fact, if the above is any indication, you ruined it.

    Flame on. :) Makes for nice grilling . . .

    November 2, 2010 at 12:22 am | Reply
  22. ayb

    Love the burgers and fries at Johnny Rockets.

    November 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  23. Chris

    If you're ever passing through CT stop at Teds in Meriden for a steamed cheeseburger, you won't be disappointed.

    November 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Victoria

      omg yes! Ted's steamed cheeseburgers! Grew up in Meriden and used to eat there whenever we had a burger craving. A definite must try for anyone passing through the Meriden area.

      May 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  24. choe_mu_seon

    What have you done, 4chan?

    November 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  25. lol no

    i work at five guys. and i can say, in an out is the best of casual food places. now thats burgers at reasonable prices im sure i could find a better one at some nice resturant.

    November 1, 2010 at 11:39 am | Reply
  26. johnP

    I woldn't eat ther if i was starving, look at the dinner menu, Pig bologna, brains,, thats the stuff you throw away!
    and how much is their great burger, $20.00 later for that, I'm going to IN and OUT Burger...

    November 1, 2010 at 11:07 am | Reply
  27. Pantyhose

    Love beefy goodness. A really good cheeseburger is comfort food for me.

    November 1, 2010 at 9:54 am | Reply
  28. Matrix

    In 'N Out is HIGHLY overrated! It's decent, but I find Burger King more enjoyable than In 'N Out.

    But if you want a really good franchise burger, get Five Guys! I call it a heart-attack-on-a-bun! But it is oooooooh so delicious!

    November 1, 2010 at 9:27 am | Reply
  29. DR

    If you get lost and somehow end up in the Salt Lake City area...you gotta go to Crown Burger. I prefer the original "Crown Burger" but all their bugers are great. Gimmie a side of their fries or onion rings with fry sauce and life seems pretty good!

    November 1, 2010 at 8:31 am | Reply
  30. Alex

    CNN posting an article trying to be "interweb-cute" by referencing lolcats? American Media establishment FAIL.... OMG guys, THIS is exactly the kind of stuff that is making us all dumber. And we wonder why Americans rate "biggest, poorest-informed morons" in every international poll there is...

    November 1, 2010 at 8:12 am | Reply
  31. Mr. Jobo

    Since everyone is entitled to their opinion – fresh ground rib-eye, bit of salt and fresh ground pepper, grilled through, no pink, but so juicy you need two napkins. Top with Cheddar, tomatoes. If you keep your equipment clean and you fresh grind meat, you can have pink. But why? I save pink for NY strip. Its all about the skill of the cook.

    November 1, 2010 at 12:18 am | Reply
  32. Five Guys Fan

    Looking at this restaurant's menu, the burger is the only thing I would show up for, the rest is either too weird or just plain revolting. Five Guys or a good buffalo burger here is Colorado is the only way to go. Oh- and cheddar. Kraft? Really?

    October 31, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  33. Alleycat

    This place is in Atlanta. CNN is also in Atlanta.

    Have tried, Becks Prime, Five Guys and In-N-Out. In-N-Out and Five Guys are the best, Becks Prime was disappointing to me. But if you really live in LA, or have lived there, gotta try Tommys! Great Chili Burger. There are other good spots out there, just have to find them. Like making my own with buffalo meat (marinated in good red wine), pepper jack cheese, and some mushrooms and other simple condiments.

    Seriously, Kraft American Cheese on a burger that is called the best? GROSS!!!

    October 31, 2010 at 11:49 am | Reply
  34. Fat Man in NH

    Small joints best, Fudrucker's very, very good.

    October 31, 2010 at 11:08 am | Reply
  35. buttboy

    I just love big fat greasy meat laying on buttery soft buns!

    October 31, 2010 at 8:05 am | Reply
  36. Um.. feed me

    Travel channel has quite a decent listing of some of the best burger places, including the rumored origional burger maker.
    i personally like red robins's monster burger, and probably my local topp's diner in Newark NJ. Hey... that's what new jersey's got. Diners and malls :P

    October 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  37. Me

    I'm concerned that a "news" source is quoting the poor grammar of a web sensation that isn't even funny. Furthermore, that burger doesn't look the least bit appetizing to me. I've seen much more appealing cheeseburgers!

    October 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  38. Cassie

    The best burgers are from Monks downtown Wisconsin Dells! Get a side of their (the best) cheese curds ever.......yum!

    October 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants @ work on Saturday

      Hey! That's only 2 hours away! Not a fan of cheese curds, though. From Alaska, too much cheese for me.

      October 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Reply
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