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. Searles

    Forget the Cheese and get the best burger at Kincaid's on Camp Bowie in Ft. Worth.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  2. Lou in Tampa

    Cussetta Georgia has a restraunt called "Four Winds" they make a burger called the "Ranger Burger" because it is near Ft. Benning the home of the U.S. Army Rangers. Definitely one of the best hamburgers I have ever eaten. Google it. In & Out is a close second. Five Guys is right up there too.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  3. Cole

    Can't say I've much respect for the Food Network or their choice. They picked something that's been done before and other places have done it just as well as this one has, so it doesn't stand out; it was a boring choice. Some thoughts and random responses to the comments:

    Five Guys is barely better than McDonald's, and given the value (Purely burgers, since FG does have great value on fries), I'd go with McDonald's. There are better burger franchises (Like Cheeburger Cheeburger).

    On tomatoes: They were going for crunchy textures (hence only onion and pickles). The soft texture of a tomato doesn't match with the others, or the crunch from the char, so it was left out.

    With all due respect to the Homer Burger and other variations of the Luther, I'm pretty sure that you can't get anymore unhealthy than using grilled cheese sandwiches as your buns.

    I really don't buy the daily limit of 24 as a crafting thing, but a big gimmick/marketing tactic. There's nothing I see here that would allow for such a limit. It's not like it's some Neapolitan pizza that requires special dough (and long rising times).

    There's nothing about the burger that says "Atlanta" to me. It sure looks like a good one, but nothing regional about the thing (No, using local suppliers doesn't count).

    October 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  4. T. Bagher

    No cheeseburgers in our house!
    We eat only healthy meals, with lots of fruits and veggies.
    Cheeseburgers are loaded with fat and cholesterol.
    We want to live long and be healthy!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • dave

      Low cholesterol? So you don't eat chicken breast, either? That has way more than most people realize. Not anywhere near beef liver, but more than you think.

      October 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Sarah

    I like to add a little brown sugar to my ground beef when making burgers. It adds a little sweetness, and oh my goodness that has to be the best burger I've ever tasted!!!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  6. Five Guys!!!

    Five Guys are the new Kings of the CheeseBurger!

    October 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  7. lessgetreal

    Y'ever notice that when people get a burger on their finger, they wipe it under the table or chair?

    October 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  8. Matt

    5 Guys all the way!

    October 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  9. Capt. Slapaho

    Do you ever sit alone in the dark and let your mind take control of your soul and try to play god. I have. Oh, and cheeseburgers are rad.

    October 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  10. windella

    Wow! I thought the subject was about Cheeseburgers! This burger looks good but doesn't sound like the"best" where's the tomato? I would say the best burger is a fresh baked bun lightly toasted,fresh ground beef cooked well done,mayo,red onion,tomatoes and dill pickles.
    In& Out rocks but not the"best" burger.

    October 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  11. RainyDay

    ya'll don't know what you are talking about. If you want a heart attack on a plate, here it is, the supremo of supremes, the Homer Burger: beef patties, topped with cheddar cheese, maple thick cut bacon, tomato, a little mayo...on top of a krispy creme donut served glazed side in :)

    October 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  12. John

    oooooooooo big mac yummmmmmmmmmy yummmmmmyyyy in my tummmmmyyyy i like it up the butty

    October 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      You live in San Francisco?

      October 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  13. andy m

    it's all Obama's fault (:-

    October 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  14. allanhowls

    Don't care about the article, but:
    Can we PLEASE put the whole stupid lolcat thing to bed now?
    Cats are repulsive...illiterate cats doubly so. They aren't cute, and this meme is played out.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • Cindi

      I'm telling Little Cat you find him repulsive.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Gina

      Well go the H somewhere else then.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  15. Daddy2B

    I've had this burger and yes it's that good. When I was there they cook the fries in duck fat too! My mouth waters just thinking about it. Everyone that is poo pooing this burger needs to settle down, especially if you've never had it. Open your mind and your mouth! :0)

    October 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Chef Fizzles

      French fries fried in duck fat RULES!!!

      October 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  16. Chef-E

    Anyone notice the Lipitor ad in the top right corner on top o' the page...just checking, hehe.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  17. Ron

    Any story such as this that names Kraft Cheese (of all things) is clearly an ad or at least paid product placement. Give us a break. Gross.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Fluffy Bunny

    The best burger is the Big-Mac by McDonalds.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • lessgetreal

      and the Anorexic with Yeast Infection..... Quarter-Pounder with Cheese

      October 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • frenchbungler

      The McDonald's McDouble cheeseburger beats the Big Mac, and it is only $1. A great value in today's economy!!!

      November 2, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  19. Hubergal

    I've had the H&F burger before. WAAYYY overrated! They're simply too greasy, and have no flavor. Massive burger fail IMHO.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • lessgetreal

      Eating the best burger is like prepping for surgery. Cleanliness. The juice from the patty, with the juice from the veggies and sauce, should run down the forearm and drip into the curley fries below. A single fry, used as a squeegee, should scrape off the excess as it, too, should go into the curley fries( that's why curley fries are made to conform to a forearm). Leftover meat/veggie/bun/condiment droppings from the burger should go there as well. This supplies the fiber and texture as to mask any arm hair and sweat (should jalepenos and/or hot sauce be used) that should fall into the curley fries. This process also provides the peace and tranquility of eating a good meal as phone use cannot be accomplished.*

      * Read the manual.

      October 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  20. hecep

    One "secret" I learned about burgers, and which (for me, anyway) actually improves the results: When forming the burger patties, never pack the meat tightly. Form it very gently, and packed together just enough to hold it together. This seems to improve the apparent tenderness and "mouth-feel" of the finished burger.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • lessgetreal

      my wife takes a lime and rubs it on her hands. then she takes a large meatball in her hand, puts it under her arm and presses it. Sounds gross, but is good, except for the hair. Doesn't take too long to make, either.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  21. Mago0o

    I love butter stuff... butternuts...buttercup!

    October 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  22. Debbie

    The burger in the picture doesn't do a damn thing for me...too big! I'm not a fan of all the extras...pickles, onions and cheese. The bun is way too much bread. Not appetizing at all. The best burger I've had is from Ruby Tuesdays. I just get a plain burger (the meat doesn't need any add-ons), add a bit of BBQ sauce and it's just right. Juicy, delicious and it tastes like a burger.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  23. ATL Weaver

    These aren't even close to being the best burgers in the U.S.A, let alone Atlanta. Vortex in Atlanta has by far the best burgers!

    October 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Hubergal

      Try Farmburger in Decatur-they're great! I'm with you on the H&F burgers, though-I thought they were just plain terrible. I don't get the attraction, other than the fact you can only get them on a limited basis. If they were served all day long, noone would bother with them, methinks.

      October 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
      • lessgetreal

        Made with real cow patties...

        October 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  24. josh

    that looks good

    October 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  25. josh


    October 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  26. drizzle

    the Food Channel should be called the Unhealthy Food Channel. They give very little thought to health, and REAL people's diets. They just have that jerk Guy Fierri (not his real name) stuffing his ugly redneck white trash self with utterly sickeningly unhealthy food. They are irresponsible and should be required to show the calories for every dish they show there.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bull

      Calm down.The subject is cheeseburgers.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Amy

      Yo, it's the food police! Hide the burgers! Where's the air freshener?

      October 27, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  27. Lion Tamer

    try a MOS Burger, and then a bowl of Tonkatsu Ramen and the way home.....and that's "as good as ix gets!"

    October 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • WiIx

      That's what I did the last time I was in Tokyo, and then was inspired to post a travel update on idolexpose.

      I agree, for the munch and slurping delights, this combo is "as good as ix gets."

      October 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
      • One Liner

        read your posts – insight and meaning for the Far East and America – something that I would vote for!

        October 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
      • Knut

        Definitely a great suggestion for the Mos Burger with cheese. Tonkotsu ramen is an interesting suggestion to pair with. Both full of body and flavor. Will definitely check it out.

        October 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • Mousetrap

      Mos burgers rock! Great to see the Far East connection is affecting the tastes of the public. maybe this will have an affect on the outcome of the polls.[/i]

      October 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • DayTripper

      IX gets better all the time with Mos Burger. Great Suggestion. I hope the viewership has an opportunity to enjoy the benefits that IX can offer, on many platforms. The Mos Burger is just the basic offering with many additional features available. I am a great support of IX and will continue to be a fan.

      October 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  28. Ron

    Try Kums's in Chicago.awesome and it is in Chicago.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • lessgetreal

      Kum's sounds messy, but they do have large hotdogs. They do the Furrburgers there too, right?

      October 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  29. JC-VA

    Gosh, I could have one of those right here, right now... MMmmm, mmMMMMM, Gooddddd

    October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  30. Bobby in Atlanta

    If the burger isn't cooked on a charcoal or outdoor grill it's not even in the conversation of the best. A burger cooked on an indoor stove top or in a pan is just a waste and lazy.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  31. CNNPLZ

    ITs too bad Food network knows nothing about food and only about talented hacks that appease to people who only want to learn how to cook pasta and a bad cake.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  32. The Cardiac Kid

    I'd like a large heart attack and a diet stroke please.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • lessgetreal

      ... you want flies with that?

      October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  33. lessgetreal

    McDonald's Anorexic with a yeast infection – Quarter-Pounder with cheese.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  34. sbp

    "We patty them thin so that when you cook them, all the fat renders out, which creates a good, juicy burger,” Paolini says."

    OK, so this guy has lost all credibility. If all the fat renders out, you've got a dry and pretty tasteless burger. There's a reason you use 80-85% lean beef instead of 95% lean. Too little fat is no good for a burger.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  35. lessgetreal

    ANTHONY: My wife says that In & Out Burger is the best burger during a period, too.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  36. The Cryptojournalist

    Yawn. I'm going to Al Jazeera English. At least they publish NEWS

    October 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  37. Sugar

    FIVE GUYS (5 Guys) for the Best burgers and fresh french fries. HANDS DOWN. HANDS DOWN!!!!!

    October 26, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Steve Walters

      True....hands down

      October 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm |

      Five guys was similiar to picking up a fine hooker and finding out she's a he... They pour all that money into that advertising hype, making you believe your really about to experiance something great.. Then, when you open your bag, your food is thrown in there. After digging through your fries, you find your grease burger which was raw and tasted like a straight mustard burger. $67 for a family of 5, being served crappy food, I do not recommend them to anyone. I even wrote corporate an email and needless to say, they never replied. / the 5 guys was located in north olmsted, OH.

      October 31, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  38. kyle

    Meers, OK Best burger long horn cattle

    October 26, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  39. lessgetreal

    Anybody eat a burger at Furrs Cafeteria? I forget what it was called....

    October 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  40. Brad

    The best burger in America is in fact in Atlanta, but not at Holeman & Finch. It's at Anne's Snack Bar, and it's called the Ghetto Burger. If you've ever had it, you know what I'm talking about.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Gina

      I've heard stories about that burger but I've never had one. Is it really worth all the trouble? That woman sounds like the Soup Nazi.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  41. Chad

    Kraft cheese??? But they use their own ketchup??? I'm sorry, but you can't beat Heinz, and I can't take this sous chef seriously.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Bull

      Hunts beats the taste of Heinz any day of the week.The Heinz family suks .

      October 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
      • dave

        Yeah, the *Heinz family's politics* may suck, depending on your side of the aisle, but the company makes better ketchup (in my opinion). Don't make judgments about the quality of products based on politics. Now, boycotting the product because of politics is a different matter entirely; that's a perfectly valid choice.

        October 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
      • Amy

        I VASTLY prefer the flavor of Heinz ketchup to Hunts. Heinz has a more vinegary flavor, which I prefer. Hunts mostly just tastes "sweet". I like sweet, but I want that vinegary bite, and Hunts just doesn't have it.

        October 27, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  42. lessgetreal

    Heart attacks happen. Burgers and other consumables require innovation, foresight, faithfulness, vision, determination, perseverence, enthusiasm, optimism, a touch of insanity, and beer.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  43. Heather

    My favorite burger is from Smith's Drug Store fountain and grill in Forest City, North Carolina. Served with crinkle-cut fries and an orange freeze!

    October 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  44. Sam Bruni

    whaddabout da Ghetto Burgaz, CNNz?

    October 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  45. John

    thank you chris...big mac is the BEST BURGER EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    October 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  46. trumod

    Kraft singles? Not a big fan of American cheese, let alone Krap singles. It melts better than anything else but it misses completely on flavor – and that's any American cheese. I'd work out an American/Cheddar blend.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  47. zappafrank

    I'm betting this burger is no better than the incredible burgers they have at another Atlanta landmark, the Vortex (especially since the winning burger is a plain ol' cheeseburger with the basic toppings).

    October 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Gina

      My vote goes to the Vortex as well. That one up there in the picture is too much.

      October 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
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