A burger has become the ultimate comfort food at any family gathering, backyard BBQ, or a Friday night get together with friends. In the last few years, burgers have taken the gourmet food scene by storm with endless creative variations on the classic American burger. But at the end of the day, nothing beats the classic—a juicy patty on a toasted bun with all the trimmings.

The key to making the perfect hamburger is to pay attention to detail and use the best quality ingredients. Here are some tips and tricks for making the best burgers at home.

Select the Best Beef

When it comes to burgers, it’s all about the beef. The quality of your meat will directly affect the taste and texture of your burger. Most grocery stores offer a variety of ground beef including ground chuck, sirloin, and some cuts of brisket. To make the perfect hamburger, you should look for ground chuck with a fat content of 20-25%. The higher fat content will ensure that your burgers stay juicy while they’re cooking, and that they don’t dry out. You should also look for fresh ground beef, with a bright red color and no signs of gray.

Create Your Seasoning Blend

One of the best ways to bring out deeper flavors in your burgers is to create your own seasoning blend. Start with some chopped onions and garlic to give your burger a savory and sweet flavor. Then add some chili powder, paprika, and oregano to give it a bit more of a spicy kick. For an extra bit of flavor, try adding some Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of ground mustard, and a bit of sugar for sweetness. Mix all of your ingredients together, and then use the blend to season your meat just before cooking.

Form the Patties

After you’ve seasoned your ground beef, it’s time to form your patties. First, lightly wet your hands and divide your meat into equal-sized portions. Gently form each portion into a patty shape that is about 1-inch thick. Use the palm of your hand to make an imprint in the center of each patty—this will prevent the patties from bulging in the middle as they cook. Finally, separate the patties with a piece of wax paper before placing them in the refrigerator to chill.

Cooking the Burgers

Now that your patties are formed, it’s time to start cooking! The key to getting a juicy and well-cooked burger is to cook it over medium-high heat. Heat your grill or skillet until it is hot, then add your burgers ensuring that they’re not overcrowded. Let them cook for about 7 minutes before flipping them over and cooking for another 5-7 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160F when inserted into the center of a patty.

Select the Perfect Buns

When it comes to hamburgers, the bun is just as important as the patty. The bun should be dense enough to hold up to the juices from the burger, while being tender and flavorful. Look for buns that are lightly toasted and not too big or too small. Pretzel buns, brioche buns, and potato rolls are all great options for burgers.

Choose Your Toppings

When it comes to toppings, the sky is the limit. Start by adding some crisp lettuce and tomatoes for crunch, then add your favorite toppings like onions, pickles, mushrooms, and jalapeños. If you want your burger to be cheesy, add a slice of your favorite cheese 20-30 seconds before the burgers are done cooking. For a bit more flavor, try adding some of your favorite condiments like BBQ sauce, mustard, ketchup, or a creamy spread like mayonnaise or aioli.

Putting It All Together

Putting your burgers together is the fun part! Place your cooked patty on the bottom bun, followed by your desired toppings. Spread some condiments evenly over the top of the toppings, then top with the other half of the bun. If the edges of the buns are a bit dry, try lightly toasting them in a skillet or in the oven before adding the burger.

Making the perfect hamburger at home is easier than you think. Start by selecting the best quality ground beef, creating your own seasoning blend, and properly forming the patties. Next, cook them over medium-high heat until they are cooked through, add your favorite toppings, and put it all together. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can make the perfect juicy, meltdown-in-your-mouth hamburger for your family and friends to enjoy.