June 9, 2014

Burgers taste great any day of the year, but they taste even better in the summer when they're grilled in your own backyard and eaten outside.

Put a new twist on your burgers. Try turkey or pork instead of beef. Add flavor to your burgers with fresh ingredients and top off your grilled masterpiece with a homemade sauce.

California Turkey Burgers

This spring I discovered delicious turkey sliders at my grocery story. I love traditional turkey burgers and these were even better. Even my husband, Danny, commented on these flavorful burgers.

1 lb ground turkey

1/3 green pepper, finely diced

1 medium carrot, grated

1/4 red onion, finely diced

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced

1/2 shredded cheese of your choice

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 large egg

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat or heat grill to medium heat. Cook the patties, turning once, until no trace of pink remains, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve burgers on whole wheat buns. Top with toppings of your choice including bib lettuce, tomato and guacamole.

Tex Mex Cheeseburgers

Mexican food is popular with most palettes. These border-inspired burgers are adapted from Recipezaar and are heavy on Tex Mex flavor, but not heat.

1 lb lean ground beef

1/3 cup onion, minced

1 tablespoon ketchup

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon ground pepper

4 hamburger buns, toasted

2 leaves of lettuce

1 tomato, sliced

Tex Mex Burger Sauce (recipe below)

Mix together the ground beef, minced onions, ketchup, chili powder, shredded cheese, and the salt and pepper. Shape into four patties.

In a non-stick, pre-heated frying pan, set to medium high heat, fry the burgers for 4 minutes on each side.

Serve on a toasted roll with Tex-Mex Burger sauce (recipe below).

Tex Mex Burger Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup ketchup

1 can chopped green chilies (4 1/2 oz)

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 1 cup.

Pepperoni Burgers

Kids will gobble up these burgers flavored with pieces of pepperoni and instead of ketchup, top off their burgers with pizza sauce. If you want to create a supreme burger, add diced onion, green peppers, and black olives.

1 lb ground beef

1/4 lb pepperoni sausage, minced

¼ cup Italian bread crumbs

1 clove garlic

salt and pepper to taste

warm pizza sauce, if desired

Preheat the grill for high heat. In a bowl, mix the beef, pepperoni, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into burger patties.

Oil the grill grate. Place burger patties on the grill, and cook 5 minutes on each side, or until well done.

Serve on buns and top with pizza sauce.

Gold Nugget Burgers

What's better than a burger topped with cheese? A burger filled with cheese, of course. Sunset magazine shares a way to tuck cheddar cheese into the middle of the burger to create an oozy, cheesy burger experience.

1 1/2 lbs 90% lean ground beef sirloin or chuck

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 slices (2 in by 1 in and 1/4 in thick) cheddar cheese

1 red onion (about 8 oz), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

4 Kaiser, onion, or crusty round rolls (4 in wide), split

Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce (recipe below)

1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (4 oz.)

1 firm-ripe tomato (about 8 oz.), cored and thinly sliced


In a bowl, gently mix ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide meat mixture into eight equal portions and shape each into a 4-inch round. Top each of four rounds with 2 slices of cheese. Lay another patty on top of each and press edges together to seal.

Lay burgers and onion slices on an oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook burgers, turning once, until browned on both sides and done to your liking (cut to test), about 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Cook onions, also turning once, until browned on both sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove from grill.

Lay buns, cut side down, on grill and cook until lightly toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Spread Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce on bun bottoms. Add lettuce, tomato, burger, onion, and guacamole. Set bun tops in place. Serve with remaining guacamole, sauce, and salt and pepper to add to taste.

Sweet and Spicy Sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine 3/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup Worcestershire, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce heat so mixture barely simmers and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is thick and reduced to 1 cup, 25 to 30 minutes. Whirl mixture in a blender until smooth. Serve warm or cool. Chill airtight up to 2 weeks.

Pork Burgers

Last Thursday, Gary Vinsand of Dakota City, Iowa, created what he claims is the world's largest pork burger at the World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

If you love bacon, this smaller-scale pork burger from the Food Network is for you. It's flavored with a hint of sage and topped with cool and crunchy coleslaw.

5 slices bacon

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound ground pork

Kosher salt and 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 the bacon and garlic in a food processor until coarsely ground. Combine the ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the sage in a large bowl. Add the bacon mixture and gently mix with your hands. Gently form the meat into 4 balls, then lightly press into 4-inch-wide, 1-inch-thick patties. Make a 2-inch-wide indentation in the center of each with your thumb to prevent the burgers from bulging when grilled.

Preheat a grill to medium high. Season the patties with pepper. Grill, undisturbed, until marked on the bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and grill until the other side is marked and the patties feel firm, 4 to 6 more minutes. Meanwhile, spread the cut sides of the buns with butter and toast on the grill.

Serve the patties on the buns; top with coleslaw