When it comes to burgers, chef Nancy Silverton has a simple philosophy: "The key is to choose toppings that complement the flavor of the meat," she says. "There's a reason that cheese, onions, pickles, and bacon are traditional: They're strong enough to stand up to the intense flavor of beef, while adding a little something extra."
Serves 4


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground chuck, shaped into 4 (4 1/2- to 5-inch) patties
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound Comté or Gruyère cheese, cut into 4 slices
  • 4 hamburger rolls, such as challah buns, split
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Pickle slices (optional)


Total time: 45 minutes

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, flipping once, until just crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, chilies, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.

Season patties all over with remaining 1 tsp. salt and black pepper. Arrange burgers on grill and cook, flipping once, until they reach desired doneness, about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, top burgers with cheese and toast buns on the grill until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Arrange lettuce on buns and top with burgers and some of the mayonnaise mixture. Arrange bacon, avocado, tomatoes, onions, and pickles (if using) on burgers and serve.


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