The origin of the hamburger, the patty of cooked ground meat served between two buns or in a roll, is lost in the depths of time. In any case, you can get a hamburger at a variety of Fast Food places and family-owned eateries that dot the landscape. Many American households choose to cook their own burgers. Here is how to make the perfect hamburger.

It’s all in the meat

Most people take a patty of ground beef and slap it on the grill or a frying pan. A more imaginative way to create a hamburger patty is to get a pound of lean ground beef and a pound of ground Italian sausage meat, out of the casing, and mix the two together.

The result will be a succulent flavor that is like nothing you have ever tasted before. Make your patties about a 1/3- pound size for adults or a ¼-pound for kids. You can also make them smaller if you are serving sliders.

Cooking the hamburger patty over a grill is better than in a frying pan or a flat top. The smoke will enhance the flavor tremendously. A good rule of thumb is to cook the meat for three minutes on one side, then for four minutes on the other to get a medium-rare level of doneness. Add another minute to get the meat medium well.

Putting it all together

The first step is to toast the buns to give them an extra firmness and a crunchy texture. Some people put butter and garlic powder on the inside of the buns for extra flavor.

If you’re using cheese, a slice of Monterey jack works the best. Provolone, Swiss, and Cheddar work just as well.

For additional condiments, I recommend that you don’t overdo it. I recommend a slice of onion, but the addition of a pickle, jalapeno, or even some shredded lettuce is acceptable. Two half strips of bacon are a real flavor enhancer.

Avoid tomatoes like the plague. They do not go well with a hamburger.

Also, avoid using ketchup with your burger. Some barbecue sauce, steak sauces, or even salsa, works much better. Yellow mustard can be added. I do not recommend anything resembling Grey Poupon on a burger,

French fries work pretty well with a hamburger as a side dish and, by all means, use ketchup on them if you like.

Hot sauce works on fries as well. Onion rings and coleslaw work as side dishes very well. Finally, while I usually don’t advise a sugary soft drink under most circumstances, a hamburger meal is an exception. Root beer tastes the best along with a burger. If you are an adult and are so inclined, have a pint of Guinness to go with your meal.