Wicked Good Burgers

eating-burgersWe’re not talking McDonalds, Burger King or Wendy’s here. In fact, have you watched television advertising from these slop shops? When you finally get there and order your burger, it rarely looks like it does on television. Ah, the beauty of food stylists. Let’s take it one step further here: We’re not even talking Fuddruckers or Five Guys (although anything you can get here is an improvement over other three). We’re talking homemade burgers. There’s nothing like it. I guarantee you can’t get these in a take-out place.

We’re also not talking just beef, but also ground chicken and turkey. Again, I urge you to think outside the culinary box. Cook them outdoors on the grill if you can but, if not, an indoor electric grill works as well (Breville makes a great product).

Following this little diatribe are six great burger recipes for you to try. This isn’t the entire repertoire, but it’s a great start. The recipes call for 1-1/3 lbs of ground meat. This should give you about four decent-sized burgers. I also do not buy the leanest cut, even with chicken and turkey. There’s nothing worse than a dried out burger. I am also giving you recipes for cheeseburgers because, well, what’s a burger without cheese on top? If you can’t eat cheese or do not like cheeseburgers, simply leave it off.

Lettuce or some kind of greens are always a welcome addition to burgers. Get creative here. Try baby spinach, baby kale or arugula for a switch.

Tuscan Blue Cheese Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs of ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp Italian or Tuscan Seasoning (I use McCormick’s)

1/2 lb crumbled blue cheese (or Gorgonzola, if you prefer)

Deli-sliced Pancetta (Italian bacon)

Italian Fontina Cheese (optional)

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Thomas’ Sandwich-sized English Muffins, toasted

Directions

The first thing you want to do is prepare the Pancetta. Deli-sliced pancetta should be sliced fairly thin. This is what you want. You should use 2-3 sliced per burger. Heat a pan and cook the pancetta until crisp, but not burned. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Mix together the first three ingredients, and divide into four equal parts. When forming the burgers, push some crumbled blue cheese into the center of the meat and form the burger around it.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Even though you are brushing oil on the burgers, I recommend using grill spray on outdoor grills as well.

On an outdoor grill, cook six inches from the coals with the cover down, or on a gas grill on medium-high heat with cover down for 6-7 minutes per side. On an indoor grill, preheat the grill on high and cook for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Fontina just before the burgers are cooked. Melting should take less than a minute with the grill cover closed.

Serve the burgers on Thomas’ Sandwich-Sized English Muffins that have been lightly toasted. These burgers are delicious with a quick Garlic-Lemon Aioli. It’s simple to make.

Garlic-Lemon Aioli: Mix 3/4 cup light mayonnaise, 3 tbsp minced garlic, 2.5 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving your burgers.

Greek Feta Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs of ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

2 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Kasseri cheese (optional)

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Crusty rolls

Directions

Mix together the first four ingredients, and divide into four equal parts. When forming the burgers, push some crumbled Feta cheese into the center of each and form the burgers around it.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. I recommend using grill spray on outdoor grills even though you are oiling the burgers.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Kasseri cheese just before the burgers are done.

These burgers are great on crusty sandwich rolls. Sun-dried tomatoes in oil are great on top!

Santa Fe Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lb ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp coriander

Handful of fresh, chopped cilantro

5-6 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in strips

1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut in strips

1 tbsp minced garlic

Coarse sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Pepper Jack Cheese (optional)

Burger rolls (get creative; not the ones you feed your kids because they won’t eat any other kind)

Directions

Before you start the burgers, prepare your toppings. Drizzle some oil in a pan, add the Jalapenos, onions and garlic. Sauté on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes and set aside.

Now, mix together the first four ingredients, and divide it into four equal portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Pepper Jack cheese just before the burgers are done.

Serve on rolls with the Jalapeno pepper, onion and garlic topping.

Mexicali Blues Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

3/4 cup chopped ancho, poblano or pasilla peppers

2 tbsp chili powder (hot or mild)

1 tbsp paprika

Coarse sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Guacamole

Burger buns

Monterey Jack Cheese or Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Directions

Mix together the first four ingredients and divide into four equal portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add your Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese just before the burgers are done.

Serve on burger buns topped with guacamole.

Cajun Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tbsp Cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp oregano

Coarse sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper

Olive oil and/or grill spray

Cabot Habanero Cheddar Cheese

Onion rolls

Directions

Mix together the first five ingredients, and divide into four separate portions. Form your burgers, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Cabot Habanero Cheddar just before the burgers are done.

Serve on onion rolls.

Pesto Burgers

Ingredients

1-1/3 lbs ground sirloin, chicken or turkey

4 tbsp pesto

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Sea salt and crushed red pepper

Mozarella cheese

Roma tomatoes (thinly sliced)

Crusty rolls

Directions

I like making pesto, but you really don’t need to for this recipe. You can simply buy the pesto in the jar. This version naturally has a fair amount of olive oil sitting on top. Pour most of this out and use just the pesto.

Mix together the first three ingredients, and divide into four equal portions. Form your burgers, but skip the brushing with olive oil step. There will be plenty of oil from the pesto. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

On an outdoor grill, cook the burgers six inches above the coals with the cover down, or on medium-high heat on a gas grill with the cover down for 6-7 minutes. On an indoor grill, preheat on high, then cook the burgers for 7-8 minutes on each side. For cheeseburgers, add the Mozarella just before the burgers are done.

Serve on crusty rolls with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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