How to build the perfect burger at home

This week’s rainy weather already has us dreaming of summer’s sunshine—and all the backyard cookouts that come with it.

When thinking about building the perfect burger, 225 features writer Maggie Heyn Richardson always thinks back to a certain Parks and Recreation episode. Characters Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) face-off in a burger cooking competition. The short version is that Chris’s meticulously prepared turkey burger, with a long list of ingredients sourced from the store Grain n’ Simple, loses badly to Ron’s straightforward formula, which features ground beef from Food and Stuff grilled to cave-man perfection and slapped on a squishy white bun.

Whether you like them fussy or stripped down, a summertime backyard burger always hits the spot. Read on for Maggie’s tips to make sure your burgers deliver every time.