The gourmet burger

gourmet burgers in CI on grill

Dorothy Lane Market here in the Miami Valley sells these mondo burgers with seasonings and meat or vegetable add-ins that elevate your simple cook-out ready burger. Kroger and Meijer likewise have these specialty burgers. I like Kroger’s cheddar and bacon burgers, but they also have a blue cheese burger. Meijer has a delicious pub burger that has a cracked pepper and other coarse seasoning mix pressed into the meat all along the sides.

The drawback for all this goodness is that the cost is anywhere from $4.50-$6 for just two burgers. I decided to make my own “gourmet” burger at home to make more than one meal for less than $10.

My basic burger recipe is one of Bobby Flay’s from a “Parade” magazine article along time ago. The Iron Chef said to make sure you have a good beef-to-fat ration, which for Bobby is 85-percent chuck to 15-percent sirloin. After making the patties, he said to brush canola oil on the burgers, hitting them with salt and pepper before grilling.

I usually buy a package of 1-pound Angus chuck and 1-pound Angus sirloin then, but you could buy a mix of different meats. You could even grind your own if you have a meat grinding. I don’t have one though, so I usually ask for a pound each from the butcher or in packages already at an exact 1-pound measure. The burgers are moist without throwing up flames from too much fat content.

Angus ground chuck and ground sirloin

I asked the butcher at Kroger on Brandt Pike recently how he makes their burgers with the cheese and bits of bacon. He uses shredded cheddar cheese, he said, and these ready-cooked bacon pieces (Kroger brand). He even told me what aisle to pick up the latter ingredient.

I always assemble the minions...I mean: the ingredients.
I always assemble the minions…ahem, the ingredients.

After putting the two pounds of burger together in a large bowl, I add the shredded cheddar and jack cheeses. It’s roughly a cup of shredded cheese going into my burger mix. I then use 1/4-1/3 cup of the bacon pieces and then seal the bag for another day. I also mixed in 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and roughly 1/2 tsp of ground pepper.

all mixed up

I have a plastic burger maker that you can buy at any grocery store, retail store, or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I like to keep my burgers uniform and not quite so large as the store ones. I hate it when the outside is done, but the inside is raw. Another way to make a burger without such a tool is to make large meatballs and make them all about the same size and then press them into the shape you need.

I use a tablespoon measure — a shot glass would work, too — to press down the middle of each burger; otherwise, the burger will plump up in the middle and look like an odd-shaped ball.

Oh, and while I use Bobby’s idea about brushing canola oil on plain burgers, I don’t brush them with oil when I’ve added cheese and bacon like this.

This post is turning into a Food Network-name-dropping moment, but Guy Fieri, another burger enthusiast, has said to turn your burgers just once. Absolutely DO NOT press down on the burger while cooking it. You’ll lose the great juices inside those burgers and end up with dry meat. No one wants that!

Generally, I grill each side for 5 minutes tops. The cheese helps leave these delicious crispy meat pieces on the surface. So good!

Pulling them off the grill, I let the burgers rest for a few minutes with a lid over top of the plate. The buns all have a thin layer of mayonnaise on the bottom, an Alton Brown tip.

“Since mayo is mostly fat and, therefore, hydrophobic, spreading a thin layer of it on the bottom bun will prevent the bread from being soaked by burger juice,” he said. “And it tastes good to boot.”

He’s absolutely right. You bite into that burger and — unless you’re the cook — you would never guess what they extra tangy taste is exactly.

I am cooking for hubby David and I, so I make 6 burgers from 2 pounds. I use wax paper on top of tin foil to wrap two burgers and freeze them for two more meals down the road, marking the outside foil with a Sharpie that shows the date I put them together.

ready to freeze

We have three burger meals I figure. Dave inevitably says each time, “Just one?” Yes. Just one burger. LOL I serve burgers picnic style, with things like oven-baked fries, chips, Yoder’s mustard potato salad, or Bush’s baked beans.

To recap, here’s the burger mix recipe if you want to give it a try or riff off it:

1 pound of Angus Sirloin
1 pound of Angus Chuck
1 cup of any hardy cheese — I use cheddar mixes.
1/4-1/3 cup of bacon pieces
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Pinch of salt at time of grilling

Don’t hit them with any salt until you plan to grill them. I use kosher salt and learned that with this recipe to just use a pinch. After all, the cheese and bacon have added enough salt to the burger.

Hopefully, I have given you some ideas to make your own burger creations. Please let me know what you come up with so I can give that a go. I’m always on the lookout for burger recipes.


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