Break out the grill for burgers this summer

Vary the meat and toppings to create unique meals that will keep your family coming back for more

    It’s time to enjoy that tasty summertime staple, burgers on the grill.
    But not every burger needs to be a hamburger, made with ground beef or chuck. A wide range of burgers — including turkey, lamb, pork, chicken, veggie and seafood — can be made and grilled.
    By varying the toppings, adding sauces and placing them on different breads or buns, each burger will have a unique taste. You could eat one each day for a week and not feel like you were having the same meal.
    There are a few general rules for making tasty burgers. Use meat with the proper amount of fat to end up with a juicy burger. If using ground beef or chuck, use one with a lean-fat ratio of 80/20 or 70/30.
    Don’t handle the meat too much. Loosely form the patties and don’t compress the meat too much. The burgers will cook more evenly, allowing the juices to flow.
    When you are handling the burgers, do so with wet hands. Water and grease repel, so the beef won’t stick to your skin.
    Form patties that are about 3/4-inch thick. Press your thumb into the middle of each patty to prevent the burger from bulging during cooking.
    Season the burgers just before grilling. Otherwise, the salt will draw moisture from the burger, drying it out.
    When grilling, do not press down on the burgers with a spatula. All you’re doing when you mash the burgers down is pushing out the juices, leaving you with a dry patty.
    To determine if the burgers are done, use an instant-read thermometer, inserting it into the side of the burger through to the middle. Burgers should be cooked to 160 degrees.
    Color is not an indicator of whether burgers are cooked thoroughly. Burgers that are brown inside may not be cooked enough.
    Flip the burgers once, after 5 to 6 minutes, and let them rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
    Following are burger recipes from

Steakburger With Tangy Caramelized Onions and Herb Butter

For onions:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
For herb butter:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon or parsley
For burger:
1-1/2 pounds dry-aged steak, coarsely ground
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices white cheddar cheese
4 brioche or other high-quality hamburger buns
Romaine or green leaf lettuce

    For onions, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and starting to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato paste and cook about 30 seconds, stirring, until warmed through. Add Worcestershire and vinegar, scraping up brown bits on bottom of pan.
    Stir in butter and brown sugar and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, adding water by the tablespoonful if skillet starts to dry out, until onions are completely softened and caramelized. Add 1 tablespoon water and cook about 30 seconds, scraping up brown bits, until incorporated. Let cool.
    For butter, cook vinegar and shallot in a small skillet over medium-high heat for three minutes, stirring occasionally, until vinegar has reduced and skillet is almost dry. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool  about five minutes.
    Place butter and salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash shallot mixture into butter until incorporated. Gently fold in tarragon or parsley. Chill until ready to use.
    Divide ground steak into four portions. Shape into four-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick, loosely packed patties. Make a small indentation in the center with your thumb. Chill until ready to use.
    Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat and generously oil grates. Generously season patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill, indented side down, for two to three minutes, until lightly charred on the bottom. Flip, top with cheese, and continue to grill two to three minutes, until burgers reach desired doneness. Transfer burgers to a platter and let rest five minutes.
    Grill buns about 30 seconds, until toasted. Generously spread cut sides of bun with herb butter. Top each bottom bun with lettuce, patty, and three tablespoons caramelized onions, then close burgers.
    Makes four burgers.
    Onions can be made five days ahead and kept covered and chilled. Butter can be made three days ahead and kept covered and chilled. Bring both to room temperature before serving.


Spiced Black Bean Burgers

1 15 to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup dry breadcumbs
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup bottled chunky salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Vegetable oil
2 whole wheat hamburger buns

    Using fork, mash beans in medium bowl. Mix in onion, breadcrumbs, two tablespoons salsa, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Using moistened hands, shape bean mixture into two three to four-inch-diameter patties.
    Heat barbecue to medium-high heat or preheat broiler. Brush barbecue rack with oil. Grill burgers until heated through, about three minutes per side.
    Grill cut sides of buns about one minute, until lightly toasted. Transfer burgers to bottom halves of buns. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa over each. Cover with tops of buns.
    Makes two burgers.



Southwest Turkey Burgers With Corn Salsa

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chunky salsa
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels

    Oil grill rack. Heat barbecue to medium-high.
    Combine turkey, crushed chips, four tablespoons cilantro, chili powder, salt, cumin and pepper in large bowl. Using fork, mix together. Form six patties, each about 3-1/2 inches in diameter.
    Mix together salsa, corn and remaining cilantro in small bowl. Set aside.
    Grill burgers about five minutes per side, until cooked through. Divide among plates. Spoon salsa over burgers and serve.
    Makes six burgers.


Barbecue Turkey Burgers With Creamy Coleslaw

For burgers:
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
2 pounds ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
For coleslaw:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 large carrot, shredded coarse
1 small red onion, sliced thin
6 6-inch pita loaves, split open to form pockets

    In a small bowl, stir together Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, Tabasco, salt and pepper until sauce is smooth.
    In a large bowl, stir together turkey, onion, bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup sauce until combined well. Form into six 3/4-inch-thick patties.
    Divide remaining sauce in half and put in separate bowls, half for brushing burgers on the grill and half for drizzling on cooked burgers. Chill sauce, covered.
    In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Add cabbage, carrots, red onion, salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine well. Coleslaw may be made four hours ahead and chilled, covered.
    Grill burgers for six minutes per side on an oiled rack set five to six inches over glowing coals, brushing frequently with barbecue sauce,  until cooked through.  Drizzle burgers with remaining barbecue sauce and serve with coleslaw in pita pockets.
    Makes six burgers.
    Burgers may be prepared one day ahead and kept chilled and covered.

Salmon Burgers With Red Pepper Mayo

For mayo:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup packed, coarsely chopped and drained roasted red bell peppers
2 teaspoons drained capers
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For burgers:
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
18 ounces canned salmon, drained, picked through, flaked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 hamburger buns
1/3 cup drained roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips

    Blend mayonnaise, bell peppers, capers, lemon juice and salt in a blender, scraping down sides if needed, until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.
    Mix breadcrumbs, pepper and 1/2 cup red pepper mayo in a large bowl. Gently fold in flaked salmon. Divide mixture into four patties about 1/2-inch thick and 4 inches wide.
    Heat one tablespoon oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, saute buns about two minutes, cut side down, until golden brown and toasted. Divide among plates.
    Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook salmon patties two to three minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through. Transfer burgers to bun bottoms. Spread about two teaspoons red pepper mayo over burgers. Arrange bell pepper strips over top, then bun top.
    Makes four burgers.
    Red pepper mayo can be made five days ahead, stored in a resealable container and chilled. Burger patties can be formed one day ahead and kept covered and chilled.


Minted Lamb Burgers

1/4 English cucumber
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1-1/4 pounds ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 4-inch pita loaves
1-1/2 cups shredded romaine
8 eggplant slices, grilled

    Seed and chop cucumber. In a small bowl, stir together cucumber, yogurt, two tablespoons mint, salt and pepper.
    In a large bowl, blend lamb, cumin, remaining mint, salt and pepper to taste. Form mixture into four one-inch-thick patties, handling meat as little as possible.
    Grill burgers on an oiled rack set five to six inches over glowing coals for 4-1/2 minutes on each side for well-done. Burgers may also be cooked in a hot well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or ridged grill pan.
    Toast pita loaves and split horizontally. Transfer burgers to pitas and top with cucumber mixture, eggplant and romaine.


Grilled Mustard Dill Burgers

3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
10 ounces lean ground beef
2 hamburger buns, split
2 tomato slices
2 Bibb lettuce leaves

    Heat barbecue to medium-high. Mix sour cream, mustard and dill in medium bowl. Transfer three tablespoons sauce to small bowl and reserve.
    Add meat to remaining sauce and mix gently. Divide meat mixture into two equal portions. Flatten each to create 1/2-inch-thick patties, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    Grill cut side of buns until toasted, about one minute. Grill patties about four minutes per side for medium.
    Spread bottom half of buns with reserved sauce. Top each with burger, tomato slice, lettuce and bun top.
    Makes two burgers.




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