What exactly is a steak burger? It just might be the best burger you ever try—beefier, more flavorful, better! Here’s how to make the best steak burger there is.
If you are looking for a deliciously beefy, high quality burger, you’re going to want to give these steak burgers a try. Find out what makes this burger recipe special and get ready to impress your family.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is A Steak Burger?
Let me just say right off the bat—it’s hard to pin down exactly what constitutes a steak burger. Some will tell you it’s made from actual ground up grilling steak, like a New York or rib eye. Some will tell you it’s simply made from the highest quality ground beef—sirloin.
I’ve also seen references to steakhouse burgers which could be made from any number of ground beef varieties, but are more importantly served like you would find in a high-end steakhouse (think: thick juicy patty, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, some kind of fancy burger sauce. You get the idea!).
It’s sometimes the case that steak burgers are described more like smash burgers and Steak ‘n Shake style burgers, which are often two thinner patties for each burger, I don’t think those belong in this discussion at all.
I say that a steak burger should come from high quality ground beef and be prepared without too many embellishments. Keep reading for more details.
Choose The Right Beef For The Best Flavor
Your garden variety ground beef, no matter how lean or fatty it is, is just that—ground beef. It could be from any part of the animal, with varying degrees of flavor, juiciness, and overall quality. Even if it’s labeled ground chuck, ground round, or ground sirloin—meaning only those cuts can be in the grind—it’s not going to be the same quality as, say, a New York strip steak, rib eye, or tenderloin steak.
However, I’m not going to tell you to grind up a beautiful steak. It might make the best burger possible—and some steakhouses definitely make their burgers out of great steak cuts. But really, if I’m going to buy a nice New York strip steak, I’m going to eat it as a steak!
What I do recommend is buying the highest quality ground beef you can, which is sirloin. It will have great beefy flavor like you are used to getting with a steak. I also recommend making it a relatively big patty, at least 6 ounces (that’s over 1/3 of a pound), to further enhance the meatiness.
For a burger that is definitely steakhouse quality with a rich, buttery taste, you can also check out my Wagyu Burger recipe.
Video: Tips For Amazing Burgers
How To Cook A Steak Burger
I’m recommending that you use sirloin for this burger because of its flavor, but all that flavor comes at a cost. Sirloin is beefier tasting because it’s leaner. Which means it’s less juicy and that means your steak burger can get dry.
So what do you do? Like a bison burger which is also lean, you can cook it to only medium-rare (about 140°F). Just know that that is technically below the guidelines from the USDA which recommends 160°F for ground meats.
I also like to use a little butter in the skillet. It adds to the steakhouse flavor (many brush their steaks with butter before serving) and helps create a crisp, brown crust on the burger patty. And I’ll also tell you, this isn’t in the recipe below but it’s pretty miraculous. You can add butter right into the meat mixture itself. I like to shred about 2 tablespoons of cold butter on the large holes of a cheese grater directly onto my bowlful of ground meat. Then add the seasonings and mix. It adds juiciness right into the meat!
How to cook a steak burger? You could grill them, but I like to pan-fry sirloin steak burgers on the stove. I get a more even char on the outside, and also it lets me use butter as the frying fat.
Note that while you’re cooking, don’t press or flatten your burger with a spatula. That’s just forcing juices out—definitely not conducive to a juicy burger. (This goes for any burger by the way—steak burger, basic burger, turkey burger, chicken burger, you name it.)
To Grind Or Not To Grind?
A couple of other things will help achieve the best texture for your burger. One is to grind the meat yourself. So consider buying whole sirloin steaks and grinding them at home. You can even grind meat with a food processor if you don’t have a meat grinder.
Or shop at a butcher where they grind meat for you, resulting in freshly ground meat without the hassle of doing it yourself. That’s what I usually do.
Another thing that will result in better taste and texture is, when shaping your freshly ground meat, don’t pack the patties too tightly and don’t handle them any more than necessary. That’ll just result in tough burgers. The video I posted above actually has some great tips to help you handle the burger less, which helps a lot in making tender, juicy burgers.
To sum it up, to make the best, beefiest-tasting steak burger you can, start with a flavorful cut of meat (sirloin is my choice), try to make sure it’s freshly ground, shape it carefully, add butter to the mixture or cook it in butter, and cook it to medium-rare to keep it juicy.
Now that’s a great burger!
How To Serve Your Steak Burger
Now that you’ve made your delectable sirloin burger patty, in my opinion, you want that beefiness to shine through and not get overpowered by your toppings. Keep it simple with tomato, lettuce, and red onion like I’ve done in the photos. Or for more of that fancy steakhouse feel try sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese. Whip up some nice steak-cut French fries to serve with it, and get ready for a treat!
Podcast Recipe About Making Steak Burgers
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make these burgers, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
What exactly is a steak burger? It just might be the best burger you ever try—beefier, more flavorful, better! Here’s how to make the best steak burger there is. Note: If you’re going to grill the burgers, try adding 2 tablespoons of shredded cold better (use the large holes on a cheese grater) to the meat before adding the seasonings so that it gets mixed right in there.
- 1 and 1/2 lb. ground sirloin, ideally freshly ground
- 3/4 tsp. onion powder
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted
- Your favorite burger toppings
- In a large bowl, gently combine meat, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Handle the mixture as gently and sparingly as possible (over-mixing can make the burger tough).
- Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each into a ball, then flatten the balls into discs, about 4 inches in diameter. Make them thinner in the center.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan to coat the bottom.
- Cook the patties to your desired doneness. Because sirloin is so lean, I like to cook it to medium-rare doneness (internal temperature of 140°F), about 3 minutes per side.
- Serve the patties on toasted buns with your favorite burger toppings.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
This post originally appeared in May 2020 and was revised and republished in July 2023.