May is apparently National Burger Month, but in our world, that sort of describes every month. On average, Americans eat 50 billion burgers a year, which is about three burgers per person every week. It appears we’re not alone in thinking that American cheese-draped patties need no excuse.

Holiday or not, we’ll take any opportunity to amp up our burger game. Here’s our plan for burger greatness:

Learn the basics.


To scale the heights of Burger-mandu, you need to have a strong foundation. With our complete guide to making burgers at home, learn the fundamentals of burger-building—from the best fat percentage for your ground beef, to cooking techniques that will achieve a perfectly medium-rare patty. Don’t forget to toast that bun. (Photo: Cara Eisenpress)

Get the ultimate recipe.


Don’t be afraid to step outside the box once you’ve got the standard construction down. Food 52 has eight patties that go beyond the good ol’ cheeseburger, like patty melts and a shrimp burgers with roasted garlic-orange aioli. (Photos: Food52)

Don’t be afraid to dream.


Insane burgers were all the rage in 2013. Although you’re probably not going to be making the Grass-Whopper burger with a patty of bugs instead of beef, there’s nothing wrong with some burger extremism. If nothing else, ramen burgers and fried-PBR burgers simply remind us that boundaries are meant to be broken.

Understand the price points of your favorite burger styles…


In order to navigate the burger landscape, you need to understand the differences between fast-food burgers, haute burgers, and everything in between. In NYC, we’ve broken down the best patties at every price point from $2.75 to $20. If you’ve got an expense account handy, check out the most expensive burgers in America. Foie gras and black truffles, anyone?

…as well as how cooking techniques vary.


These GIF of NYC’s best new burgers show off some of the different techniques that contribute to our favorite patties, from basting in bone marrow to searing on a flat-top grill. (GIF: Liz Barclay)

Bonus: Check out some bacon-cheeseburger food porn set to rap music.

Because there’s nothing better than Bronson and burgers.