The Art of the Hamburger

Servings: 2

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 40 min

*Your Chef will lead you through all the techniques, so prepping ahead of class is optional

Ingredients for the tomato jam:

  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise (from stem to bottom)
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Ingredients for the caramelized balsamic onions:

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the burgers:

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck (or 90/10 if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon avocado or olive oil, divided
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 brioche hamburger buns
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • butter any condiments of your choice
  • lettuce leaves, washed and dried


  1. For the tomato jam: Place a medium sized saucepan or large skillet over medium low heat and pour in the oil.  Once the oil is hot add the shallot, garlic and thyme and cook until quite fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, molasses, honey, apple cider vinegar, water, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil then reduce to low and allow it to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes-adding water if the sugars begin to caramelize too quickly-or until the jam has thickened enough to hold its shape on a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

    This makes about 1 ½ cups of tomato jam that can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  2. For the caramelized balsamic onions: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a rimmed sheet tray with aluminum foil. Arrange the cut onions in one even layer and, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tops of the onions, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible over the tops of each slice. Transfer the tray to the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the onions are dark brown and softened. If you like darker, slightly crispy onions, turn the broiler to high after roasting and broil the onions for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly charred in spots. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
  3. For the burgers: Divide the ground chuck into two equal portions, each weighing 8 ounces each. Taking care not to overwork them, form each portion into a ball and then press down into a patty that is a ¼ inch larger in diameter than the bun; this ensures the patty will fit perfectly after cooking. Use your fingers to make an indent on the top of the patty, starting at the center and working your way out, so that it is thinner in the middle and thicker at the edges. This technique will keep the patty flat as it cooks.
  4. Heat the 10.25 inch Classic Fry Pan over medium high heat and pour in 1 teaspoon of oil. Season the patties very generously on both sides with salt and pepper before placing them in the pan. Allow them to cook undisturbed for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip them over and place 1 slice of cheese on each, allowing it to hang over the side so it melts and gets crispy on the pan. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare (130°F checked with an instant read thermometer) or reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes or to desired doneness (140°F for medium,150°F for medium-well and 165°F for well-done). Remove them from the skillet and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the pan to medium high heat and, without wiping it clean, place the buns cut side down in the pan and toast until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. To assemble, place the bottom toasted buns on a plate and add 1 spoonful of the tomato jam, spreading it to the edges. Next, place a few lettuce leaves followed by the burgers, balsamic onions and another spoonful of tomato jam, finishing with the top buns.