The Perfect Patty

The Butcher & Larder's guide to top-notch indoor burgers

"There is no perfect burger blend," says Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder. "I will put that statement up against anybody, including Thomas Keller."

What matters, insists Levitt, is that the beef is of the best quality, is freshly ground and has plenty of fat. At his excellent Noble Square butcher shop, which sells only pastured local meat, the beef is ground fresh ($7 per pound) throughout per day.

We knew the butcher would have a great burger technique, so we asked him to share. In an age of top-heavy burger mash-ups, Levitt's purist style is refreshing–and one to emulate now that grilling season is coming to a close.

Make it: "Form a nice, loose patty and let it sit for a while–it will hold together better. Salt and pepper the heck out of the outside right before you cook it."

Cook it: "Heat a cast-iron pan or a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; high heat renders the fat too quickly. When you flip the patties, put the buns around the outside of the pan and lean the cut side against the edge of the skillet. That's my mom's trick, and they come out perfectly toasted every time. I like potato buns, which hold up but are neutral in flavor."

Serve it: "When I go to Kuma's I'm not shy about my condiments. But at home, it's lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and maybe a slice of bacon. If you want mustard, well, I won't judge you."

The butcher's burger: salt, pepper and a heavy pan