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Grill up the best burger! 4 chef secrets that elevate this summer staple

Making the best burger doesn’t take much extra effort!

Grilling season is here! It would be a crime to celebrate without a burger. A juicy, flame-kissed patty blanketed in cheese and piled high with all the right toppings.

The perfect burger takes practice—and a few chef’s secrets. We’re filing this one in our Chef’s Kiss series where we tell you how to elevate a recipe like a pro, so you can grill up a chef-approved burger at home!

Chef Todd Leonard, from UVU Culinary Arts, shared his four founding principles for building the best burger. You’ll want to keep these in your back pocket all summer long!


Principle 1: Meat Matters

Choose an 80-20 or an 85-15 ratio

The foundation of any great burger lies in the meat. Choose an 80-20 or an 85-15 meat-to-fat ratio.

Freshness matters, so try to look for quality ground beef from the deli or a reputable brand. You could even make your own patties using fresh ground beef. The fresher, the better!

The size of your patty matters, too! The best burgers have a good patty-to-bun ratio, so shape accordingly.

Principle 2: Char your patty for a perfectly flame-kissed burger

Chef Todd swears by charring the patties for that irresistible flame-kissed flavor. Preheat your grill to high heat and sear both sides. Place the patties on the grill and let them sear for a few minutes on each side. The char adds depth to the taste.

Principle 3: Butter and grill your bun

The bun matters more than you think! Butter it up for a great texture to hold your patty.

Spread a little butter on the inside of your burger buns. This adds flavor and helps create a crispy texture.

Place the buttered buns directly on the grill. Toast them until they’re golden brown. This will result in a sturdy base for your juicy patty.

Principle 4: Daredevil toppings make all the difference

For a chef’s kiss worthy burger, go daredevil with the toppings. Here are a few that Todd recommends:

  • Fried Eggs
  • Beets
  • Jalapenos
  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Pastrami
  • Pulled Pork
  • Variety of Cheeses


Chef Todd’s Signature Burger

  • 1/3 pound Patty (char-grilled)
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Grilled Poblano Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Onions
  • Fry Sauce
  • Buttered Bun

Want to learn to cook like Chef Todd? Sign up for classes at UVU Culinary Arts. Suitable for all ages, you’ll learn cooking techniques from their lineup of professional chefs. Find more information at, or on Instagram, @uvu.cai.

Find Chef Todd on Instagram at @cheftoddleonard.

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