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Denver Chefs Reveal Their Perfect Burger

And there is wide variety in their taste.

Sunnyside Burger Bar
Sunnyside Burger Bar

In honor of Eater's Burger Week, we asked Denver chefs a few questions about the burgers they love, where they eat them, and what they think should never show up on a burger. From the perfect bun to the fattiness of the patty, let's take a look at what makes a perfect burger, according to 19 Denver chefs.

  • Max MacKissock, Bar Dough: To me there are two distinct kinds of burgers, the skinny grey burger, or the meaty burger that a temperature is required. I like them both a lot.
  • Rayme Rossello, Comida: Erik [Duffy of Tender Belly] made some burgers at home the other day that he ground up himself with 90% lean ground beef (organic, but NOT grass fed) and then added the ground pork back fat. It was the best burger, honestly, I have ever had. The temp was MR and it was cooked to perfection on the Big Green Egg [grill]. I always love mayo and ketchup on my burger, cheddar cheese, butter lettuce, ripe tomato, on a not-too-thick bun. Cut it in half.
  • Dakota Soifer, Cafe Aion: It has to be grilled, ideally on wood. On a good bun (brioche is my favorite) I'm a big fan of aioli on the bun, a few thick slices of grilled red onion and great blue cheese... maybe a few spicy pickled things, or barbecue!
  • Paul Reilly, Beast + Bottle: I really feel a great burger is all about the patty to bun ratio. It has to be right or no matter what else you put on, it won't matter.
  • Patrik Landberg, Charcoal: A perfect burger is cast iron grilled burger (you get a little smoke from the grill, but not too heavy charred minimum 20% fat content ) cooked medium rare, brioche bun, caramelized onion, aged cheddar cheese, Bibb lettuce, and horseradish mayo, and maybe a few pickles.
  • Lon Symensma, ChoLon and Cho77: Grilled burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, barbecue sauce, cheese.
  • Justin Brunson, Old Major: Double American cheese, caramelized onions, dill pickles, raw white onion, ketchup, and mustard on a white sesame seed bun.
  • Theo Adley, the Squeaky Bean: The perfect burger to me is a very simple equation. A high quality bun toasted with butter. An all-beef blend; ideally chuck and brisket, about 85% lean. American cheese is the optimal cheese. Sliced dill pickles and melted or sautéed onion are the only real vegetable elements I need. And I prefer ketchup and mayo, best dresses up in a "special sauce."
  • Kevin Morrison, Pinche Tacos: Beef, ground beef, or chuck, or NY strip. Medium rare.
  • Brandon Biederman, Steuben's: I like most any burger as long as it's made well and not some dried up piece or low quality meat.
  • Elise Wiggins, Panzano: Angus beef, potato bun, bacon, gorg, red onion, tomato, lettuce, and crisp pickles.
  • Pete Ryan, the Plimoth: The perfect burger is cooked rare, seasoned correctly, good fat to meat ratio (30:70), fat tomato slice, crisp lettuce, maybe a litle ketchup or mayo. Real simple stuff to let the meat shine!
  • Jorel Pierce, Stoic & Genuine: My perfect burger is simple. Fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo somedays, somedays not. Always American cheese, always mustard, butter griddled bun, flat-top seared patty (6-8oz, 80/20 or fattier) crispy edges and perfect warm medium.
  • Hosea Rosenberg, Blackbelly Market: The perfect burger is big, exciting, full of surprises, messy, and doesn't hold together well at the end. Kind of like most of my relationships.
  • Alex Seidel, Fruition/Mercantile Dining & Provision: Thin, caramelized beef patty that has great beef flavor and is juicy. Fresh bun, almost moist, that has been griddled with butter. I am a sucker for American cheese on my burger. I also like bacon, avocado, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard.
  • Jenna Johansen, Epicurean: Rare, great juicy meat, thick patty. No seasoning other than salt and pepper. Brioche bun. Lettuce, tomato, mayo or aioli, good mustard.
  • Frank Bonanno, Bonanno Concepts: A half pound preferably cooked on a flat top to a perfect medium rare—still a little bloody. If I'm making it at home, it's on a buttered English muffin.
  • Chris Thompson, the Nickel: My favorite burger is a patty melt. Marbled rye, caramelized onions, emmenthaler, fancy sauce (ketchup, aioli, minced cornichons).
  • Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja: I love a buffalo burger, medium rare with pepper Jack cheese, green chili, and avocado on a toasted onion bun.

The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80209 (303) 623-2665 Visit Website

Stoic & Genuine

1701 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80202 (303) 640-3474 Visit Website

Old Major

3316 Tejon Street, , CO 80211 (720) 420-0622 Visit Website


3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 303-296-2747 Visit Website

Charcoal Restaurant

43 West 9th Avenue, , CO 80204 (303) 454-0000 Visit Website

Beast + Bottle

719 East 17th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 623-3223 Visit Website


1606 Conestoga Street, , CO 80301 (303) 247-1000 Visit Website

Cafe Aion

1235 Pennsylvania Avenue, , CO 80302 (303) 993-8131 Visit Website


225 East 7th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 832-4778


523 East 17th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 830-1001 Visit Website


909 17th Street, , CO 80202 (303) 296-3525 Visit Website

Mercantile Dining and Provision

1701 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80202 (720) 460-3733 Visit Website


1555 Blake Street, , CO 80202 (303) 353-5223 Visit Website

Pinche Tacos

3300 West 32nd, Denver, Co 80211 720 502 4608