How Le Pigeon's Gabriel Rucker Makes Cheeseburgers At Home

Le Pigeon's Gabriel Rucker is a cheeseburger purist

Gabriel Rucker doesn't like a blood-red rare burger.

"Ground beef doesn't need to be served rare!" says the chef of Le Pigeon in Portland, OR. "Just slightly pink is good for me."

Rucker serves a great burger at his restaurant, a juicy square patty on ciabatta with lettuce slaw and cheddar ($14). But at home? He keeps it simple:

Rucker likes regular chuck. "Grass-fed doesn't have the same ratio of fat so it dries out," he explains. And he makes each patty six or seven ounces. "If you have too much meat, it throws the whole burger off balance."

"We do cheddar at the restaurant, but at home, sliced American cheese from the deli is great. It melts the best," says Rucker.

No need to get fancy with brioche buns and ciabatta, guys—Rucker uses a soft onion roll made by Oroweat and toasts it a little bit.

He crowns his cheeseburger with raw onion, like a sweet Walla Walla or Vidalia, and some sort of crunchy lettuce, say bibb or iceberg. "Get the best fresh tomato you can find," he says.

Despite his purist approach, Rucker swears by one unusual condiment: honey mustard