Achieve burger greatness, with updated classics, regional favourites, homemade everything (from meat blends to pretzel buns), and craft-burger creations, plus fries and other sides, and frosty drinks.
What is the “ultimate” burger? Ask that question and you will ignite an enthusiastic debate about meats, cooking methods, degree of doneness, bun types, condiments, toppings, and accompaniments. The Ultimate Burger has the best answer to all of these questions: The ultimate burger is what you want it to be. And America’s Test Kitchen shows you how to get there.
Craving an all-American beef burger? We’ve got ’em: steak burgers, double-decker burgers, and easy beef sliders. Travel beyond beef, with options for turkey, pork, lamb, bison, salmon, tuna, and shrimp burgers before exploring the world of meat-free burgers, both vegetarian and vegan. Then it’s go for broke, featuring out-of-this-world creations like a Surf and Turf Burger, Loaded Nacho Burger, Grilled Crispy Onion-Ranch Burger, and Reuben Burger.
You want sides with that? The sides chapter covers the crunchiest kettle chips, the crispiest French fries, and the creamiest coleslaws, and we’ve even thrown in some boozy milkshakes and other drinks to help everything go down just right. We even guarantee bun perfection with all sorts of homemade buns to lovingly cradle your juicy patties.
And we reveal the ATK-approved store-bought buns, ketchups, mustards, and relishes to complement your burger, along with recipes for plenty of homemade condiments like Classic Burger Sauce, Quick Pickle Chips, and Black Pepper Candied Bacon to mix and match with the recipes.
Double-Decker Drive-Thru Burger
Why This Recipe Works: Introduced by a certain fast-food chain, the double-decker—two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun—has solidified its place in American pop culture.
For our take on this iconic burger, we started with the classic triple bun setup, which we achieved by simply adding another bun bottom to each burger. We knew a large, 12-inch skillet would be essential to cook the eight patties for our double stacks, but we still needed to cook the burgers in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which would cause our patties to steam rather than fry.
To keep the thin patties from shrinking too much, we weighted them with a foil-lined pot as they cooked. Once the first set of patties had cooked, we topped each with a slice of cheese and placed them in a warm oven; in the time it took the cheese to melt, the second batch of quick-cooking patties was ready. For this burger’s hallmark flavour, we topped them with our Classic Burger Sauce, along with some shredded lettuce, pickles, and minced onion to re-create this delicious drive-thru classic at home.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Wrap bottom of Dutch oven with aluminum foil. Cut sides of 1-quart zipper-lock bag, leaving bottom seam intact.
- Divide ground beef into eight 2-ounce portions, then roll each portion into balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, enclose in split bag. Using clear pie plate (so you can see size of patty), press ball into even 3 1/2-inch patty. Remove patty from bag and transfer to platter. Season patties with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Place 4 patties in skillet and weight with prepared pot. Cook until well browned on first side, 60 to 90 seconds. Flip patties, return pot, and continue to cook until browned on second side, about 60 seconds. Transfer burgers to rimmed baking sheet, top with cheese, and keep warm in oven. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet and repeat with remaining 4 patties; transfer to sheet.
- To assemble: Spread 1/4 cup burger sauce over 4 bun bottoms, then top with 1 cup lettuce and cheeseburgers. Spread remaining 1/4 cup sauce over remaining 4 bun bottoms, then top with remaining 1 cup lettuce, remaining burgers, onions, and pickle chips. Place second set of burger stacks on top of first and top with bun tops. Serve, passing extra sauce separately.