7 Outrageous Burger Recipes Turning You Into a Grill Master

Summer is the season of sun, fun, and cracking open a few beers. It’s also the season for firing up the grill as often as possible. In honor of our favorite way to cook during warm-weathered months, we’re bringing you our Grill Master Series where we’ll highlight a different category of food to sizzle up over the grates each week. Follow along to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cooking over open flames. 

If you’re a burger lover, you have plenty of company. According to Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, the bun-clad patties rank as Americans’ favorite food to grill. Though a simple slice of cheddar, squirt of ketchup, and drizzle of mustard will do, these seven recipes show just how phenomenal the backyard favorite can be. Whip up any of these burgers at your next cookout and you’ll look like a pro.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Italian Sausage Burgers with Provolone and Broccoli Rabe

Choosing between Italian sausage on a bun and a juicy burger is something no one should ever have to do. Rachael Ray’s satisfying sandwich combines the best of both worlds in this tasty combo. Topped with melted cheese and some broccoli rabe, it’s an all-in-one meal.

Though cooking the broccoli rabe is an extra step, you can easily do it in advance, ensuring it’s ready to go when you’re ready to grill. You can also skip it and use something that doesn’t require any cooking instead. A little bit of radicchio offers a similar bitter bite, along with a refreshing crunch. Topping the burgers with a handful of potato chips isn’t necessary, but the crispy texture is phenomenal against the juicy meat.

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, and chopped into 1½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
  • 1 scant teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 4 thick slices provolone cheese
  • 1 cup giardiniera, drained, and chopped
  • Garlic and herb, or salt-and-vinegar, potato chips
  • 4 (5-inch) squares focaccia, or ciabatta rolls, split and toasted

Directions: Bring a few inches of water in a deep skillet to a boil. Season with salt, and add broccoli rabe. Cook 3 minutes, and drain. Return pan to heat and add olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe, and cook, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Season with salt, to taste.

Preheat a grill pan or grill to medium-high heat. Combine sausage and beef with Worcestershire sauce, grated onion, salt, and pepper. Form into four patties, and make an indent in the center of each. Drizzle burgers with oil, and cook 10 minutes, turning once. Top with cheese in last few minutes. Remove from heat, and keep warm under aluminum foil.

Add giardiniera on roll bottoms, then top with a patty, broccoli rabe, and chips. Add roll tops, and serve.

burger, pesto

Source: iStock

2. Cheese-Stuffed Lamb Burgers with Pistachio Pesto

A lot of lamb burgers feature the same rotating cast of characters: feta, mint, and harissa. There’s nothing wrong with any of those ingredients, but lamb plays really well with a ton of different flavors. Olga Esquivel-Holman’s recipe on Relish, which was developed for Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger contest, gets stuffed with creamy Boursin cheese and topped with a fragrant pistachio pesto.

Start by whirring the pistachios with basil, mustard, capers, and olive oil for the delicious spread. Then season the meat, divide into portions, and sandwich some cheese between patties. Once cooked, the filling will be melted and delicious. Pile the burgers onto buns, add some avocado and pesto, then let your friends devour one of the fanciest cookout meals they’ll ever have.

Ingredients:

Pistachio Pesto

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon capers
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup water

Burgers

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • ½ cup Boursin cheese
  • 6 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into wedges

Directions: Place pistachios in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped, but don’t turn it into a paste. Remove ½ cup of pistachios, and set aside for burgers. Add one garlic clove and shallot to food processor, and process until finely chopped. Scrape sides of  bowl as needed. Add 1 teaspoon mustard, capers, basil, and lime juice; Process to combine. With motor running, add oil and water. Process until combined. Set aside.

Combine remaining mustard with garlic, wine, salt, and reserved pistachios in a medium bowl. Add lamb and mix gently to combine. Form 12 thin patties. Divide cheese evenly among six patties, then press another patty on top, sealing edges, to form six filled burgers.

Brush grill rack with oil, and cook patties 6 to 9 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your desired doneness. Place burgers on rolls. Top with pesto and avocado. Close with bun tops, and serve.

blue cheese dressing

Source: iStock

3. Cobb Salad Salmon Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo

Salad isn’t usually very exciting, unless it’s cobb salad. The classic dish comes with all sorts of goodies like bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and blue cheese. The star protein can be just about any meat, but salmon might be one of the best. Cooking for Keeps’s recipe turns the fish dish into an impressive burger that’s loaded with flavor.

If the idea of a salmon burger isn’t all that appealing, you might still want to give this one a shot. With so many delicious toppings, there’s a lot to love. It’s also a great way to increase your fish intake, and give you some omega-3s.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into small pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup creamy blue cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 hamburger buns

Directions: In a food processor, pulse salmon until finely chopped. Remove blade, and stir in garlic, onions, lemon juice, salt, and breadcrumbs. Form mixture into four patties. Heat a grill to medium-high flame and grease grates. Cook burgers until golden and cooked through on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, combine mayo and blue cheese. Spread mayo onto bun bottoms, and top with tomato, onion, and a salmon patty. Finish with egg, bacon, avocado, salt, and pepper. Close buns, and serve.

burger, salsa, cheese

Source: iStock

4. Nacho Burgers

Crunchy chips under a blanket of melty cheese make nachos one of the most delicious foods out there. The dish doesn’t usually translate very well to a backyard cookout, but Bobby Flay’s southwestern burgers, featured on Food & Wine, manage to pile all of the flavors onto a bun. This recipe keeps the burgers pretty simple, with just a quick dusting of salt and pepper before the patties hit the grill. A quick salsa is as easy as stirring together some tomatoes, chipotle, red onion, and a bit of cilantro. The only part that requires much work is making a béchamel, but one taste of the creamy sauce will convince you that it’s totally worth the extra effort.

Ingredients:

 Salsa

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded, and minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Burgers

  • 1½ pounds ground beef chuck
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split, and toasted
  • Sliced pickled jalapeños
  • Blue corn tortilla chips

Directions: Combine all salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Cook over moderate heat for 30 seconds. Whisk in milk in a steady stream, and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese just until melted. Add pecorino, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let cool.

Light a grill. Form beef into 4 patties, and brush with oil. Season each with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until browned on outside and cooked to medium inside, about 4 minutes per side. Place burgers on buns. Top with cheese sauce, salsa, jalapeños, and chips. Add bun tops, and serve.

cheeseburger

Source: iStock

5. Pimento Cheese Burger

Though it’s considered a quintessential southern food, pimento cheese actually hails from New York. Regardless of where you live, it’s a delicious concoction that makes a great appetizer with nothing more than crackers and veggies. Saveur gives the savory spread some main-dish appeal in these decadent burgers. Cheese lovers be warned, you may never be able to go back to a simple slice of American over your grilled patties.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon diced pimentos
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds ground beef, formed into 4 patties
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • Iceburg lettuce
  • 4 tomato slices

Directions: In a bowl, combine cheese, mayonnaise, pimenos, grated onion, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Season patties with salt and pepper. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Grill burgers, flipping once, until cooked to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium rare. Spread 2 tablespoons of pimento cheese over each burger, cover, and let melt. Serve burgers on buns with tomato and lettuce.

coleslaw

Source: iStock

6. Barbecued Pork Burgers with Slaw

Any fan of pulled pork knows making a perfectly smoked shoulder can take well over 12 hours. For those who have less than half a day to spend cooking, these Barbecued Pork Burgers with Slaw from Gourmet via Epicurious can speed you along to the same taste in just 30 minutes. Jazz up some purchased barbecue sauce with a little bit of cayenne and vinegar, then use it inside the burgers and as a sauce on top. A crown of creamy slaw is the perfect finish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) piece green cabbage, cored
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespooon milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 tablespoon sliced chives
  • ½ cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1½ pounds ground pork
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split, and grilled

Directions: Preheat grill to medium-hot. Thinly slice enough cabbage to measure 2 cups. Whisk mayo, milk, and 1½ teaspoons vinegar until smooth. Toss cabbage, carrots, and chives with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let coleslaw stand at room temperature while making burgers.

Stir barbecue sauce, cayenne, ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining vinegar until combined.

Mix pork, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce just to blend. Form into four (¾-inch-thick) burgers.

Oil grill rack, then grill patties, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Brush tops of each with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce mixture, turn and grill 30 seconds. Brush again with sauce, turn, and grill 30 seconds longer. Brush rolls with barbecue sauce, then add patties, and slaw. Serve.

Bacon Cheeseburger

Source: iStock

7. Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pub Burgers

Even if you’ve outgrown the phase where you want to douse all food with ranch dressing, it’s fun to relive the nostalgia from time to time. These standout burgers from Simply Scratch do it right by pairing a juicy patty with plenty of melted cheddar and a ranch-inspired aioli. It’s definitely a more adult way to indulge.

While making aioli might sound complicated, it’s easy using a food processor. Just make sure to add the oil in a slow stream, otherwise you’ll break the emulsion and end up with a greasy mess. If you really want to speed things along, though, feel free to stir a ranch dressing packet right into some purchased mayonnaise. No one will know the difference.

Ingredients:

Aioli

  • 1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful dill, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup light olive oil

Burgers

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • Burger seasoning
  • ½ pound peppered bacon, sliced in half, and cooked until crisp
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese, quartered
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 8 Pretzel dinner rolls

Directions: In a small food processor, blend egg, yolk, mustard, and lemon juice. With the motor running, slowly stream in olive oil. Add garlic, parsley, dill, onion flakes, salt, paprika, and oregano. Pulse until blended. Pour into a container, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

In a large bowl, mix beef with about 1 tablespoon of burger seasoning. Form into eight equal portions, and form patties. Heat grill to medium-high heat, and cook burgers 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until cooked to desired doneness. Top each with two cheese quarters. Remove to a plate.

Toast buns until golden. Top each with a burger, bacon, a slice of tomato, and lettuce. Spoon aioli over tops, close with bun tops, and serve.

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