The 40 Best Burgers in America

Everyone has his or her own perfect burger. It’s the local burger place you grew up going to. It’s the burger you ate that summer in your uncle’s backyard. It’s the burger you ate at three in the morning after partying all night with friends. Some will say that the perfect burger is a thin patty of ground chuck, cooked on a flattop until the exterior is browned and crispy, served on a steamed seeded Wonder bun with a slice of melted cheese and raw onion. Others will tell you that the perfect burger is a half-pound puck of short rib, sirloin, and brisket, adorned with balsamic caramelized onions, roasted tomato, and goat cheese, and nestled into a house-baked bun.

Even though the definition of a perfect burger is open to opinion, when you ask some of the country’s most respected authorities on the subject, like Hamburger America‘s George Motz, certain requirements become obvious, even though patty size and topping preferences may differ. The use of high-quality beef is crucial, for one, cooked with skill and care, served juicy and well-seasoned. “It should have spring if you poke the patty; a light crust is welcome, too,” said one expert.

A great burger should also be well-proportioned and not overpowered by any one component. “The stack should not require an eater to unhinge his or her jaw,” said one expert; “The perfect burger is greater than the sum of its parts and should offer synergy and balance,” another agreed.

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