* Keep everything small: Not only are chunks undesirable in the middle of a burger, but they also might prevent the patty from retaining its shape. Dice everything as small as possible.

* Keep the french fries crisp and everything else soft: When you bite into a burger, the only thing that should crunch is the perfectly cooked exterior. That means all vegetables should be cooked until softened. Bacon should be pulled from the pan before it crisps. And absolutely no seeds except on the bun.

* The main event is the meat: As always with a burger, choose the freshest, highest-quality ground meat you can buy and then don't cover up its flavor.

* Don't invite too many ingredients to the party: Resist the urge to throw everything in the bowl. A few carefully chosen add-ins are enough. A multitude might cause you to overwork the meat and make it tough. Too many flavors, and all you've got is a mess.

* Find inspiration in the tried-and-true: Burgers are nothing new. Start with combinations that worked on top of the burger and adapt them to work as add-ins. Mushrooms, onions, cheese and bacon are good places to begin. Simply adding a good steak sauce, a secret of many grillmeisters, can take a burger from ordinary to extraordinary.