“Simple” is the operative word to use when making a good cheeseburger.
There are really only a few items you need to assemble the perfect backyard burger. The number one ingredient is good company. If you follow that first simple rule, you will never fail. So, call a friend. If you don’t have any friends, make one immediately. Then, grab some good ground beef, a few well-made buns, salt, pepper, a little A1 sauce and, of course, CHEESE*.
Now, there are many great melting burger cheeses but I have found one that for me stands out above the rest. My personal favorite is a Swiss made cheese called Chällerhocker. “Chällerhocker” translates as “cellar sitter” and it is made in the northern part of Switzerland in the Toggenburg region. The recipe for the cheese is similar to Appenzeller. In my opinion, Chällerhocker adds an oniony nuttiness to cheeseburgers that no other cheese can provide.
Once you have assembled all of the ingredients, light the charcoal grill, grab a crisp IPA and start forming some patties with a little salt and pepper. Slice the Chällerhocker an eighth of an inch thick, grab the buns and A1 and go sit with your friends around the fire.
Now, grab another IPA, Smuttynose if you have it, and toss the patties onto the medium high heat grill. Do not touch the burger until you are ready to flip it and, when you do, wait 2 minutes and then apply the cheese. Liberally. After the cheese has melted and you have cooked the meat to your liking, take the burgers off the grill, put them on buns, add some A1, tell your friends to grab two more beers and enjoy!
You will know when a cheeseburger is done right. You will be quiet and smiling.
*Pancetta is optional but highly recommended.
Tripp Nichols is a cheesemonger and one of the domestic cheese buyers at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.