My editor is obsessed with burgers. Specifically the thin, griddled patties you’d find at old-school diners and burger stands. And so he spent many years perfecting his ideal diner-style burger recipe (with buttery, peppery caramelized onions and oozing American cheese) and unfairly kept it a secret, until I forced it out of him last week. So enjoy and, as he says: “please try not to ruin it with lettuce, tomato, or other frivolous condiments.”
Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high.
Place the balls of meat on the skillet and smash them down with a wide metal spatula. Ideally you want to smash them down only once so they seal and get that crust without losing much juice. Let cook for a couple of minutes until you see the top side appear to be almost bleeding.
Flip the patties. You should see some nice crusting on the top.
Place 1 slice of American cheese on top of each patty; cover until melted.