These Are Anthony Bourdain’s 10 Tips For Making the Perfect Burger

Listen up, people.

Anthony Bourdain Burger Split Promo
Left: Getty/Claudia Totir

Anthony Bourdain’s forty-plus years in and around some of the finest kitchens in the world have undoubtedly given the bad boy chef a wealth of culinary expertise. But you’d better believe this guy knows a thing or two about creating the perfect burger, too. 

In an interview with Tech Insider, Bourdain rattled off some of his do’s and don’t’s for assembling and cooking that quintessential centerpiece of American cuisine we know as the hamburger. And thanks to Thrillist, the clip has been distilled down into a simple-but-essential list. So before you fire up the grill, listen to what he has to say:  

1. Keep it simple.

Are you really making this classic dish better? “You might deconstruct it in a way that impresses people or delights them, or astounds them. But does it make it better?” he asks.

Don’t get caught up in unnecessary flair.

2. Use a potato bun.

It has to be squishy.

3. Use “a hunk of well-ground, good-quality beef.”

Of course.

4. Use processed, meltable cheese.

It needs to be able to melt. That’s a must.

5. You should be able to eat the burger with one hand.

“I like lettuce on a burger, maybe even a tomato is nice,” Bourdain says. “But it makes it more structurally difficult to eat.”

The way he puts it, you should be able to eat a burger “with one hand,” no exceptions. 

6. Keep things symmetrical.

Each bite must contain all of the elements of the burger.

“There’s a tectonic slide that occurs when you start to overcomplicate and add other products,” he says, referring to the slip-and-slide of greasy ingredients on most burgers’ surfaces.

The last thing you want is a bite made up entirely of pickle. Oof.

7. Don’t use condiments outside of ketchup and mayo.

“Personally, I approve of ketchup on a burger, mayonnaise if you insist, but beyond that you have to ask again, ‘Am I making it better?'” Bourdain asks.

8. Keep it clean.

“You know, a burger is a beautiful thing. It’s not beautiful when you are wearing half of it,” Bourdain says.

9. Consider bacon… maybe.

Does bacon make it better?

In Bourdain’s opinion, bacon can throw off the balance and/or make the burger messy.

10. Don’t make a burger that’s too difficult to eat.

Here’s Bourdain’s golden rule:

“One of the greatest sins in ‘burgerdom,’ I think, is making a burger that is difficult to eat. Where the bread-to-meat ratio is out of whack. Where it’s either too greasy or not greasy enough. Or the damn thing just doesn’t hold together the way God intended burgers to hold together.”