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Alon's house-ground burger patties

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It's no secret that fat is the key to a tasty and juicy hamburger. However, getting the right mix of fat using store-bought pre-ground meats isn't easy. Grinding at home is a solution, but ultimately messy. Alon's Bakery and Market (1394 N. Highland Ave., 404-872-6000; 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road, 678-397-1782, www.alons.com) has the answer: a house-ground burger sold in packs of two for $5.

Chef Alon Balshan's combination of hanger steak, brisket and chuck results in a patty that is full of beefy goodness and studded with a mouth-watering amount of fat. Season it well (read: lots of salt and pepper) and load it up with the topping of your choice onto the bakery's buttery – and huge – pain de mie hamburger buns ($2.99 for four). Have some fickle and fat-adverse eaters at your dinner table? The burgers can be cooked until well done and still remain juicy. In fact, a morning after microwave reheat test yielded a still-juicy patty.

The burgers are available at both locations of Alon's Bakery and Market. According to Balshan, the burgers should always be on hand, but call ahead if you are planning a larger get-together so the bakery can ensure you don't go home empty-handed.

If you want a test run, Alon's offers the burgers as a sandwich special at both locations – Wednesdays at the Virginia-Highland/Morningside store and Thursdays at the Dunwoody location – and Balshan is considering putting the burgers on the menu as a regular item. If so, the burger wars will have a worthy new entrant that you can re-create at home.

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