Try a different sort of summertime burger

Beef is traditional but you can make this classic grilled meal using mushrooms, other meats

    It’s time to enjoy that 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

Portobello Burger

3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
6 portobello mushrooms, cleaned
6 brioche or gluten-free buns, sliced in half
6 slices beefsteak tomato
6 slices red onion
Butter lettuce leaves

    Put olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a pitcher. Add basil, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and whisk together. Pour mixture into a resealable plastic bag, add mushrooms, seal the bag and toss to coat. Grill immediately or leave the mushrooms in the marinade for as long as two hours.
    Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Cook mushrooms four to five minutes per side, until lightly charred and tender. Toast buns, cut-side down, until golden.
    Serve mushrooms in the buns with sliced tomato, red onion, butter lettuce and toppings such as catsup and mustard.


Miami Burger

1 pound ground chuck (80% lean) or ground turkey (90% lean)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
4 hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices smoked ham
2 dill pickles, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices

    Divide meat into four equal portions. Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.
    Heat oil in the pan or griddle over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about three minutes for beef and five minutes for turkey.
    Flip burgers over. Grill beef burgers four minutes for medium-rare, until golden brown and slightly charred, and turkey burgers about five minutes, until cooked throughout.
    Add cheese, if desired, during the last minute of cooking and cover the grill to help melt the cheese.
    Combine mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread both sides of each bun with the mayonnaise and mustard. Place a slice of cheese on each bun bottom, place a burger on top. Top with a slice of ham, another slice of cheese, and some pickle slices. Cover with the bun tops.
    Cook burgers on a sandwich press or wrap in aluminum foil and cook in a hot skillet over high heat, placing a heavy skillet on top of the burgers to press them, about 1-1/2 minutes per side, until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.



Perfect Pork Burgers

5 slices bacon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Freshly ground pepper
4 potato buns, split
Unsalted butter, softened, for spreading
Coleslaw, for topping

    Pulse bacon and garlic in a food processor until coarsely ground.
    Combine ground pork, one teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and sage in a large bowl. Add bacon mixture and gently mix with your hands. Gently form the meat into four balls, then lightly press into four-inch-wide, one-inch-thick patties. Make a two-inch-wide indentation in the center of each with your thumb.
    Preheat a grill to medium high.
    Season patties with pepper. Grill five to six minutes, until marked on the bottom, then turn and grill until the other side four to six minutes.
    Spread butter on the cut sides of the buns and toast on the grill.
    Serve the patties on the buns topped with coleslaw.



Salmon Burgers

1-1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko

Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 brioche buns, split
Tartar sauce and arugula, for topping

    Cut three-quarters of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces and put in a large bowl. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunk and put in a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and cayenne. Pulse to make a paste. Add the pureed salmon mixture to the diced salmon. Add scallions, two tablespoons panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Gently mix until just combined.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide salmon mixture into four mounds on the parchment paper. With damp hands, pat into four-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
    Spread remaining panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook three to four minutes, until browned on the bottom, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook another three to four minutes, until browned and patties feel springy in the center. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then season with salt.
    Arrange the buns, cut-side up, on a broiler pan and broil one to two minutes. Serve patties on the buns topped with tartar sauce and arugula.



Steakhouse Burger

For steakhouse spice mix:
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For burger:
12 ounces beef chuck, coarsely ground
12 ounces beef sirloin, coarsely ground
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

    Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
    Mix together the peppercorns, garlic, onion, parsley, dry mustard and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
    Gently toss together the ground chuck and sirloin in a large bowl, making sure not to overwork the mixture. Form beef into four 3/4-inch-thick patties, each about four inches in diameter. Sprinkle generously with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
    Spread steakhouse spice mix evenly on a plate. Coat both sides of the patties with the mixture.
    Place patties in the hot skillet but do not press down with a spatula. Cook about 3-1/2 minutes, until patties are seared and browned on one side, then flip and top each patty with one-quarter of the butter. Cook about 3-1/2 minutes, until browned and the burgers are medium-rare.



Cheese Stuffed Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cheese options:
8 ounces blue cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces pimiento cheese spread
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 hamburger buns

    Mix ground beef, salt and pepper in a large bowl and form the mixture into eight equal-size balls. Press a cube of your preferred cheese into the center of each ball and cover completely with meat. Form balls into hamburger patties about 1/4-inch thick. Grill to the desired doneness.
    Serve on a toasted bun.
    To make pimiento cheese spread, place two seven-ounce jars of pimentos, drained, in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Grate three 10-ounce bricks of cheddar cheese. Using an electric mixer, combine pimientos and cheese, beating until smooth. Beat in one cup mayonnaise. Makes four cups.


Tangy Meatloaf Burgers

1 small onion, half of it sliced into rings and half diced
1 pound meatloaf mix or ground turkey
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, preferably panko
1 large egg
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup duck sauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 potato buns or other rolls, split
Lettuce, sliced tomato and pickle slices, for topping
Sweet potato chips, for serving

    Soak onion rings in a bowl of cold water.
    Combine meatloaf mix with diced onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, paprika, one tablespoon each ketchup and duck sauce, one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently form into four one-inch-thick patties and make an indentation in the center of each.
    Brush patties with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat about six minutes, until marked on the bottom. Mix remaining ketchup and duck sauce in a small bowl and set aside a few tablespoons. Turn the patties, brush with the ketchup mixture and continue grilling about five more minutes, until cooked through. Toast the buns, if desired.
    Spread buns with reserved ketchup mixture. Drain the onion rings. Serve patties on the buns topped with onion, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Serve with sweet potato chips, if desired.



Tuna Burgers With Tapenade Aioli

For burgers:
1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ciabatta rolls or French bread
For tapenade aioli:
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper

    Combine tuna, Dijon, chipotle, oil, honey and green onion in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Shape firmly into eight round patties about 1-1/2 inches thick, then refrigerate 30 minutes.
    To make tapenade aioli, combine olives, capers, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add mayonnaise and process until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
    Grill burgers for three minutes on each side for medium doneness.
    Serve burgers with ciabatta rolls and aioli. Garnish with watercress.



Southwest Turkey Burgers

8 slices turkey bacon, turkey bacon with black pepper or applewood smoked bacon
1-1/3 pounds ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large shallot or 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley, optional
1/2 small bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne hot sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend
Vegetable oil or olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 pound deli sliced pepper Jack cheese
4 crusty kaiser rolls, split
1 cup sweet red pepper relish or pepper jelly
Red leaf lettuce

    Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Wipe excess grease from pan and return skillet to heat.
    Combine turkey meat, garlic, shallot or onion, thyme, cilantro or parsley, bell pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper, cumin, hot pepper sauce, grill seasoning or salt and pepper. Divide into four equal portions, then form meat into patties. Drizzle patties with vegetable oil to coat.
    Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for five to six minutes per side. Place one or two slices cheese over each patty during the last two minutes of cooking.
    Place cooked cheeseburgers into buns and top with two slices bacon. Spread sweet relish or jelly on buns, top with red leaf lettuce and place on burger.


Buffalo Chicken Burgers

For burgers:
11 tablespoons salted butter
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken
9 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onion rolls, halved
3 stalks celery, 1 thinly sliced, 2 cut into sticks, plus a few leaves
For blue cheese dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for serving
Splash white vinegar, plus more if needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Melt nine tablespoons butter in a pan, then pour into a measuring cup.
    Put ground chicken in a bowl and add one tablespoon melted butter, one tablespoon hot sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and form into two patties.
    Set a nonstick pan over medium-low heat and add oil to the pan. Add patties turn the heat to medium and cook about four minutes, until browned.
    Mix remaining hot sauce into the butter in the measuring cup.
    Flip patties. Put a couple tablespoons butter-hot sauce mixture on each. Cook another four minutes.
    Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese crumbles, vinegar and some salt and pepper in a bowl to make dressing. Taste and adjust with more vinegar, salt and pepper if needed.
    Add remaining butter to a skillet and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the skillet is hot. Add onion rolls, cut-side down, and toast about two minutes, until golden.
    Flip patties again, put a couple tablespoons butter-hot sauce mixture on each patty and cook about two minutes, until patties are cooked through.
    Spread a little butter-hot sauce mixture on the top and bottom buns. Top each bottom bun with a patty, then add sliced celery, blue cheese dressing, blue cheese crumbles, celery leaves and the top buns. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.



Black Bean Burgers

2 cups canned seasoned black beans, drained
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 large egg
Freshly ground pepper
Canola oil
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Hot sauce
4 burger buns, toasted
Lettuce and sliced tomatoes, for topping

    Using a fork, mash beans in a medium bowl until they are mushy but still have some whole bean pieces throughout.
    Mix breadcrumbs, grated onion, chili powder, egg and some salt and pepper into the beans. Add a splash of water if the mixture looks dry. Set aside for five minutes.         Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of canola oil.
    Divide bean mixture into four equal portions and form each into a patties. Cook four to five minutes per side, until browned. Add a slice of Swiss cheese to the top of each burger. Invert a second skillet on top and cook two minutes, until cheese is melted.
    Combine mayonnaise and some hot sauce in a small bowl. Serve burgers on toasted buns with the spicy mayonnaise, lettuce and sliced tomatoes.




Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login