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A Healthy, Lean Take on the Ultimate Burger Recipe

Prepare for a true, first-class burger experience.
A Healthy, Lean Take on the Ultimate Burger RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

It is nearly impossible to find a burger at a sit-down restaurant with fewer than 1,000 calories. Blame the high-fat meat and heavy condiments. Here, we start with ground brisket, which is relatively lean but packed with perfect burger flavor. (The butcher at your local market should be happy to grind up a hunk for you.) We solve the condiment crisis by slowly caramelizing a red onion until it's sweet and moist. Combine that with the great beef and some peppery arugula for a first-class burger experience. If you must add cheese, a bit of crumbled blue goes well here atop this ultimate burger.

Nutrition: 320 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 710 mg sodium

Serves 4

You'll Need

10 oz ground sirloin
10 oz ground brisket
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
4 hamburger buns, preferably Martin's Potato Rolls, toasted (Martin's Potato Rolls aren't just the perfect size—not too big or bready—for the burger, but they also pack 3 grams of fiber apiece.)
2 cups arugula
1⁄2 cup caramelized onions

How to Make It

  1. Heat a grill or stovetop grill pan until hot.
  2. Combine the sirloin, brisket, salt, and pepper in a bowl and gently mix.
  3. Form into 4 patties. Caution: Overworking the meat or packing your patties too tightly can make tough burgers.
  4. Cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes and flip.
  5. Cook on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely charred on the outside but still medium-rare to medium within. (The center of the patty should be firm but easily yielding—like a Nerf football.)
  6. After you remove the burgers, toast the buns briefly.
  7. Divide the arugula among the buns and top with the burgers and onions.

Eat This Tip

Fresh Ground Beef

The pre-packaged trays of ground hamburger meat at supermarkets may be convenient, but it's true mystery meat, usually made from a blend of beef scraps of dubious quality and age. Instead, pick out a fresh hunk of beef and ask the butcher to grind it for you on the spot; it's the single best way to instantly improve the quality of your hamburgers. When it comes to balancing flavor with an appropriate amount of fat, sirloin and brisket are the best picks in the meat case.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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