Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Mix gently and briefly to avoid overworking the meat. Shape the seasoned beef into four patties that are about 1 inch thick.
Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill fire. Grill the burgers, covered with vents open, until nicely marked and cooked to your liking (about 7 to 8 minutes total for medium-rare). Don’t press on the burgers while they’re cooking—you want to keep the juices inside the burger, not on your grill. Top each burger with a slice of cheddar in the last minute of cooking so that it melts slightly.
Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent them with aluminum foil while you toast the buns briefly on the the grill, cut side down. Serve the burgers on the buns, topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and ketchup.
Serve with Boston Baked Beans, Creamy Potato Salad and a big pitcher of Southern-Style Sweet Iced Tea.
Photo: Scott Phillips