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Celebrity Chef Recipes: Ryan Farr's Best Damn Cheeseburger

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Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco
Photos: Vic Chin
Words & Recipe: Ryan Farr

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Our signature cheeseburger, complete with Gruyère cheese, thin red onion, crisp lettuce and our secret sauce, is the best. You’ll want to make it for your next cookout.

I could really write a love letter about this burger. We’ve been serving this recipe at 4505 since the beginning. During our early farmers market days, I ate them for breakfast, and we usually live off of them when we work at Outside Lands.

The cheeseburger is a composition that I dreamt up long ago—a brioche bun full of parmesan and scallions, crisp lettuce, red onion, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, Gruyère and our special, secret Shhh! Sauce. It has it all. You won’t need to take a nap after this burger, although that may change if you make it a double or add a fried egg.

At 4505 we pride ourselves on serving great grass-fed beef. We grind it fresh daily to our exact specifications. We’ve been serving this burger the same way since the beginning of the company at the farmers market. It’s now one of the most popular items at our restaurant.—Ryan Farr

Ryan Farr’s Best Damn Cheeseburger

Serves six

Best Damn Cheeseburger with Shhh! Sauce.
4505's Best Damn Cheeseburger with Shhh! Sauce. (Vic Chin/KQED)


  • 1½ pounds ground grass-fed beef (80% lean, 20% fat)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ large head iceberg lettuce, cut into 2 wedges
  • 3 tomatoes (in season), sliced ¼-inch thick, 12 slices
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced ¹⁄₁₆-inch thick, 6 slices
  • 4 ounces Shhh! Sauce (recipe below)


1. Portion and shape the ground beef into six, 4-ounce patties about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle half of the butter into the skillet. Place buns in the pan, cut side down, and cook until golden, about 1½ minutes. Turn and repeat with other side. Remove buns from pan and set aside.

4. Increase the heat to high. Season the patties with the salt. Add the patties to the pan and cook 1½ minutes, then flip. Cover each patty with a slice of the cheese and continue to cook 1½ minutes more until medium rare. Set each patty on the bottom half of a toasted bun.

5. Using a spoon, slather a hefty tablespoon of Shhh! Sauce on leaves of lettuce, then layer lettuce, tomato, and onion on top of each patty. Place a bun top over each burger and serve immediately. Enjoy!


4505's Secret Shhh! Sauce

Makes approximately 1 cup

  • 6 ounces mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Pinch extra-fine salt


  1.  In a glass bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard, and salt. Place in refrigerator until well chilled, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Chef Ryan Farr digs into his Best Damn Cheeseburger with Shhh! Sauce.
Chef Ryan Farr digs into his Best Damn Cheeseburger with Shhh! Sauce. (VIc Chin/KQED)

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