Cheeseburger with Easiest Fried Onions
One summer, we made it our business to try every “best cheeseburger” in New York City, and honestly, we still can’t pick a favorite. One of our tops, though, is the burger at the Spotted Pig. Our version pays homage with the quick fried onions, which absolutely make the dish. For the best flavor, buy the best-quality meat you can find and look for meat that’s fairly fatty, about 80 percent lean.
For the onions
Neutral oil, for frying2 medium red onions, halved and thinly slicedKosher salt
For the burgers1½ pounds ground beef, preferably 80% leanKosher salt and freshly ground pepper Oil, for the pan
8 slices cheddar cheese
4 potato buns, split and toasted
PREPARE THE ONIONS: In a medium saucepan, heat ½ inch neutral oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot enough that it bubbles briskly when a piece of onion is added, carefully add half the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 9 minutes. (Reduce the heat as needed to prevent the oil from smoking.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Season generously with salt. Repeat with the remaining onions.
MAKE THE BURGERS: With your hands, form the ground meat into 4-inch patties about ¾ inch thick, and season generously with salt and lightly with pepper.
Heat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot. Use a paper towel to lightly wipe with oil. Add the burgers and cook (working in batches if necessary) until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook to your liking, about 5 minutes longer for medium-rare and 7 minutes for medium. Two minutes before the burgers are done, top each with 2 slices of cheddar. Cover the skillet and let the cheese melt for the last 2 minutes. Transfer the burgers to a plate and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
Fill the toasted buns with the burgers and onions, then serve.
*Photographed by Aubrie Pick