½ teaspoon neutral oil, like canola, or a pat of unsalted butter
2 pounds ground chuck (at least 20% fat)
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 slices cheese (optional)
4 soft hamburger buns
lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes and condiments, as desired
Add oil or butter to a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet and place over medium heat. Gently divide ground beef into 4 small piles (around 8 ounces each) and lightly form into thick patties (3½ inches diameter, like flattened meatballs). Season aggressively with salt and pepper.
Increase heat under skillet to high. Put hamburgers into the skillet with plenty of distance between them and allow them to cook, without moving, for approximately 3 minutes. Flip hamburgers over and add cheese, if using.
Continue to cook through, another 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from skillet and allow to rest for approximately 5 minutes. Toast the buns, place hamburgers and top as desired.