Butcher expert Pat LaFrieda says he switched to using American cheese on burgers 15 years ago and never looked back

Pat LaFrieda told Insider he never puts cheddar cheese on his burgers.Pat LaFrieda

  • Butcher expert Pat LaFrieda shared his top burger tips with Insider.

  • LaFrieda said he never puts cheddar cheese on his burgers. Instead, he sticks to American cheese.

  • He also usually skips lettuce and onions but loves adding halved grape tomatoes.

Pat LaFrieda was once hailed as the man behind ’s burger boom. He invented the famous Black Label Burger at New York City’s Minetta Tavern, and he supplies the beef you eat in your order.

So when Insider got a chance to chat with LaFrieda before Flavors of the Open —  where he’ll feed more than 700,000 US Open fans alongside top chefs like Southern Melba Wilson on August 24 — we obviously had to find out his best burger tips.

LaFrieda even revealed the one ingredient he believes never belongs on a burger — cheddar cheese.

“Burgers are not just a , but a comfort pastime to cook because you really can’t make too many mistakes and you usually wind up with that flavor that puts you at ease,” LaFrieda said. “To me, that’s done with American cheese.”

LaFrieda said a writer inspired him to switch from Swiss to American cheese about 15 years ago.

“I don’t think I’ve had another burger since then without American cheese on it,” he added.

Burger with cheddar cheese

LaFrieda said he only puts American cheese on his burgers now. Atalay Tankut/

And when he’s making burgers at home, LaFrieda loves to keep things simple.

“I’m still a sucker for a small dollop of mayo and some grape tomatoes that are just halved and that’s it,” LaFrieda said. “Onions are great but sometimes overpower the flavor of a burger, and more often than not linger around well after the burger’s been digested.”

“I don’t even mess around with the lettuce aspect of it. I’d rather have a Caesar salad on the side or something,” he added. “It sounds simple and it is simple, but really that’s the best burger you can get right there.”

But the real magic…


Read More