How to make the 'Best Damn Cheeseburger,' just in time for grilling season

Byby Juan Carlos Guerrero via KGO logo
Friday, June 15, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Ryan Farr, the founder of 4505 Burgers & BBQ, which makes those tasty chicharrones, shares one of his more popular recipes - his Best Damn Cheeseburger. His eatery was featured by Anthony Bourdain when he taped his Bay Area show a few years ago.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Grilling season is here and if you're craving a nice juicy burger, there are few tips you need to follow. Don't take it from us. Take it from an expert like Ryan Farr.

"Sometimes it is the simple things that are hard to get done right," said Farr, who was originally a butcher and the force behind the popular chicharrones (fried pork rinds) by 4505 Meats.

VIDEO: Where's the beef? Alternative meat burger gets put to the test

We met up with Farr at his San Francisco eatery 4505 Burgers & BBQ, which opened on Divisadero Street four years ago. In 2015, Anthony Bourdain stopped there to tape a segment of his show "Parts Unknown". Farr plans to open an Oakland restaurant on MacArthur Boulevard later this year.

Farr began making what he calls the Best Damn Cheeseburger about nine years ago and selling it at farmer's markets. He says there are several tips to follow to make a good cheeseburger. The first is buy fresh ground beef that is grass fed. He only seasons his patties with salt to bring out the natural flavor of the meat.

Instead of the traditional American cheese, Farr uses Gruyere, which is a mild Swiss cheese.

"Gruyere is similar to Swiss in flavor but not as funky," said Farr. "It has a lot of flavor but it is not overpowering."

The other important tip is to warm up the buns. Farr uses a light brioche bun for his burgers. He griddles it on both sides to create crunchy texture in the sandwich.

Check out the full recipe below to make a tasty cheeseburger this summer.

4505 Burgers & BBQ Best Damn Cheeseburger

Serves 6


1-1/2 pounds ground beef (80% lean, 20% fat), grass fed

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, cut into 2 wedges

3 tomatoes (in season), sliced 1/4-inch thick to yield 12 pieces

6 ounces gruyere cheese, sliced 1/16-inch thick to yield 6 pieces

4 ounces Secret Sauce

6 hamburger buns

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1-1/2 teaspoons salt


1. Portion ground beef into six 4-ounce patties about 1/4-inch thick.

2. Warm a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle half of the butter into the skillet. Place buns, cut side down, into the pan.

3. Brush tops of buns with remaining melted butter. Cook each side approximately 1-1/2 minutes. Remove buns from pan.

4. Turn heat to high, place patties in skillet, and season with salt (about 1/4 teaspoon per patty).

5. Cook patties approximately 1-1/2 minutes, then flip.

6. Add cheese to patties and continue to cook 1-1/2 minutes.

7. Place medium-rare patty on bottom bun.

8. Slather a hefty tablespoon of Secret Sauce on 2 leaves of lettuce.

9. Layer lettuce, tomato, and onion on top of the patty.

10. Add top bun. Enjoy!

For the Secret Sauce

Makes 1 cup


6 ounces mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet relish

2 teaspoons ketchup

1 teaspoon mustard

Pinch extra-fine salt


Mix ingredients together until incorporated.

Place in refrigerator until well chilled, about 1 hour.

Click here for more stories and videos from ABC7 Foodie Call.