Many of us have settled for mediocre burgers for much of our life. We buy organic, farm-raised beef but then overcook it until it’s dry and tough, hoping that if we drown it in condiments it’ll take on the flavor we’re looking for. It won’t. Read up on some of the top tips for upping your homemade burger game and make this the summer you stop wishing you’d gone out rather than cooked in.

Start with quality ingredients

How to Perfect the American Classic Cheeseburger
Erin McGrady

The first thing you can do to make better burgers is to stop drowning them in a ton of ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Instead, start relying on the natural flavors of high-quality ingredients. First and foremost, that means your beef. You’re making a burger, after all, so the namesake ingredient should be top-notch. Todd Richardson, Chef and General Manager at Hickory Nut Gap in Fairview, NC, recommends using “pasture raised, 100 percent grass-fed beef.” Richardson says the flavor of grass-fed beef “is superb, and you can feel good knowing you’re supporting the humane treatment of farm animals, responsible farming practices, and the health of the environment.” (For those of you that don’t eat meat, substitute the beef with a plant-based Beyond Burger.)

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Keep it simple

Richardson also warns not to “overwork the meat, or