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The Great American Hamburger

Adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing)

Total preparation and cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes

Makes 6 Servings

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
2 to 3 tablespoons butter, melted or extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
6 Vidalia or other sweet onion slices, cut 1/2-inch thick (optional)
Coarse salt and pepper
6 hamburger buns, split
Toppings: Iceberg lettuce leaves, tomato slices, dill or sweet pickle slices, cooked bacon, ketchup, mustard and/or mayonnaise (optional).

1. Lightly shape beef into six 1/2-inch thick patties. Brush onion slices with 1-1/2 teaspoons melted butter, if desired.

2. Place onion slices on grid over medium ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 15 to 20 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 15 to 20 minutes) or until tender. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 11 to 13 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 8 minutes), turning occasionally, until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 F. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

3. Brush cut sides of buns with remaining butter, if desired. Place cut sides down on grid during last minute of grilling.

4. Serve burgers on buns and top with toppings, if desired. Close sandwiches.

Cook's Tip: If using 95 percent lean ground beef, add 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs and 1 egg white to ground beef in step 1.

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