Burgers are still one of the most popular foods. At your next barbecue, try these suggestions to help take your burgers up a notch.
A burger doesn’t have to be just ground beef. For a richer meat flavor you can use ground sirloin, ground venison or ground lamb. If you want to cut the fat content, you could use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground salmon fillets or chopped tuna steaks. For a smoky taste, try using ground beef brisket.
If you are vegan or have guests who are, then you will want veggie burgers. So instead of meat you would substitute shredded vegetables such as carrots, squash, turnip and zucchini, pureed beans such as chickpeas and black beans, corn, cornmeal, bulgur, lentils, fresh spinach, sprouts, quick cooking oats, cooked rice, nuts such as crushed pecans or chopped walnuts, tofu or a combination of these.
There are a variety of flavourings you can mix in with the meat to add more flavor. For beef you can add horseradish, chili sauce, Dijon mustard, dry onion soup mix, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, minced garlic, Worchester sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh thyme, fresh tarragon, fresh chives, chopped chipotle chiles or chopped shallots. Be careful not to overflavor.
For lamb some additives to consider include fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, parsley, cumin, marjoram, allspice, cinnamon, ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, fresh mint, minced red onion, pine nuts or minced garlic.
For chicken or turkey burgers, typical additives include Worchester sauce, minced garlic, hot sauce, tomato paste, grated parmesan, fresh sage, fresh basil, fresh oregano, cayenne pepper, cilantro, parsley, fresh ginger, allspice, cumin, curry, curry paste, chopped spinach, chopped shallots, or chopped jalapeno peppers.
For tuna and salmon burgers, you can add parsley, lemon, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, capers, fresh tarragon, fresh ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chopped scallions, or minced green onions.
Eggs, olive oil or breadcrumbs can also be added to help the burger hold together better.
Traditionally cheese burgers are made with cheddar, but you can also use Swiss, Monterey jack or mozzarella. For a stronger cheese taste, try pepper jack cheese, blue cheese, feta (best with lamb), goat, havarti, smoked mozzarella, gorgonzola, brie or melted jalapeno sauce.
There are toppings you can offer your guests beyond the usual mustard, ketchup and relish. Put out toppings of chili, sautéed mushrooms, salsa, guacamole, avocado slices, chutney, bacon, wasabi mayonnaise, pesto mayonnaise, spicy marinated eggplant, roasted red peppers, honey mustard, hot mustard, tzatziki and caramelized onions.
Add even more impact to your burger with the type of bun you offer your guests. Consider rolls such as kaiser, onion, cheddar, whole grain, sesame, poppy, ciabatta, herbed or breads such as sourdough, pita, olive, flat bread, challah, cornbread or focaccia.
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