The weather is getting warmer, slowly but surely, and that means exactly what you think it means. It’s time to enter the season of endless burgers and fries. First, let me begin this article by saying that I’ve eaten a lot of burgers. From standard beef to delicious duck, and brioche buns to lettuce wraps—I’ve eaten burgers too many ways to count. 

Besides having eaten my fair share of burgers, I also cook in a professional kitchen, so I know how to season meats properly. There’s nothing worse than a bland slab of meat, but an over-seasoned meat pie can also ruin your appetite. When figuring out the best seasoning for burgers, there are some guidelines to keep in mind, but anyone can follow the following steps. 

1. Choose Quality Meat

bacon, lettuce, hamburger, cheese, bun, beef
Monica Cheng

This has been said by every chef up and down 9th Avenue, and for good reason. Quality meat does wonders when making tasty burgers. Whenever you begin with a good foundation, deliciousness inevitably follows.

Meat that's a little fatty will make the best burger. That extra fat will sizzle down when being cooked and give the meat the perfect juicy bite you're craving. Leaner meats tend to be on the dry side and need a bit more help to be flavorful. Go with ground beef chuck with clear fat running through it and you’ll never be disappointed.

2. Don't Underestimate Salt & Pepper

You’re not getting anywhere without these two basic seasonings. It may seem trivial to include salt and pepper, but how many times have you endured a bland sauce or hamburger patty? It’s terrible when you have to force down a meal that's less than flavorful.

When you have your ground beef in a bowl ready to work with, start with these two basic spices. Add 2 to 3 pinches of salt and 1 to 2 pinches of pepper. The best seasoning for burgers is rooted right here.

#SpoonTip: Cooking is about going with the flow, so a pinch means just that. Trust yourself. If you don’t, you can go with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 of pepper. But adjust to your taste if it needs more the next time.

3. Season to Your Preference

spices, oregano, chili powder, cumin, Spice
Victoria Hoang

This part is where the bulk of your creativity will come from. During this part of the burger making process, you’ll need an idea of the flavor you want your burgers to have. Are we talking spicy? Finely slice some habanero or jalapeño peppers and mix them in. Want a subtle spice and more earthy flavor? Try cayenne pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Have fun with this part. Mix it up, but be deliberate. 

If you need some help getting started, try one of these options:

1. Finely chopped jalapeno, dash of onion powder, and an egg yolk to bind. 

2. Parmesan cheese, dash of Romano cheese, dash of onion powder, pinch of garlic powder, handful of pine nuts (if you can get your hands on them).

I want to stress that you shouldn't mess with your burgers too much. Simple is always best. For example, check out this Southwest burger recipe or this perfect cheeseburger for more detailed instructions to get your creative juices flowing.

4. Keep Your Toppings Simple

tomato, hamburger, lettuce, cheese
Angela Kerndl

Easiest part right here. Leave your burger alone. Don’t overdo it on the condiments, and don’t worry about piling on 20 different toppings. Get some sexy brioche buns, toast them in the toaster oven, and stack your burger. Tomatoes, lettuce, what have you. If you did your thing and did it right, then the burger will speak for itself. The best seasoning for burgers is when you keep it simple. 

How could you have messed up something this simple? Don't worry, you didn’t. Burgers are meant to be a simple, planned day-of kind of meal. Follow these seasoning guidelines and you’ll develop your own secrets for deliciousness in no time.