I am a hamburger enthusiast.

I’m guessing you are too. How could you not be, really? It’s the iconic American meal, and you can find it almost anywhere. A burger with fries, ketchup, and a Coke; a classic slice of Americana that tastes better than that sentence sounds.

But they can be even better. Assuming you make your own burgers, or even if you don’t, by switching up these few keys you can find your ideal burger. There’s no reason for good when better is right around the corner.

1: Change Up the Meat

I’m not saying you have to use Kobe beef- although you might want to- but there are tons of meat varieties you may be overlooking. Grass-fed or corn-fed changes the texture and taste of the meat, as does Angus or not. Of course there’s nothing wrong with good old American beef- if you haven’t tried the supermarket variety and fell in love, you’re missing the simplicity of the burger. And you didn’t hear it from me, but ground lamb works for lamb-burgers too.

2: Change the Style

…to medium rare. That is the proper way to eat hamburgers. Stop this “medium” nonsense and enjoy a burger the way it should be eaten.

3: Change the Toppings

Ketchup, onion, lettuce, tomato. All good. Cheese and bacon? Better. But you can add peanut butter, bacon, and fried bananas for an Elvis twist. Interested in breakfast with your lunch? A fried egg is a heck of a topping. Coleslaw is a tangy alternative to classic lettuce, and potato chips, crumpled on to your cheese burger adds a certain crunch the ten year old in you will love. Live a little: if it’s tasty, add it to a burger. It’s hard to go wrong with that.

4: Change The Mix

Some people just throw burgers on the grill or the skillet. And while that’s acceptable, there are too many ways to prep the burger before cooking to let that slide. You can (and should) consider mixing in spices to the meat itself: pepper, salt, crushed garlic, ketchup, the works. If you want it on or around your burger, you may want it in the meat itself. Some friends of mine put cheese in the middle before topping it with cheese. Try (cooked) bacon in the middle. It’s bacon-cheese-burger-inception, and if that hasn’t piqued your interest, well, than America has failed you.

5: Eat More Burgers

Practice makes perfect, and the more time with hamburgers, the more you’ll learn what you do and don’t like, what does and doesn’t work for you. Go for it. Rarely has homework been so delicious.