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best burger ideas

Interested in finding new ways to make a tasty burger. What do you put in yours? What about toppings?

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  1. I like to put bits of brie or blue cheese inside the burger.

    1 Reply
    1. I brush mine with a little black truffle oil right before serving.

      1. to turkey burgers i have added some shredded jack cheese and salsa, just blending it all in and then making patties. probably would work nice with beef, too. pretty much any tasty-sounding combo would probably work:

        black olives and feta
        onions and cheese (maybe blue?)

        this morning, on the today show, there was a martha stewart segment on burgers, with some interesting twists: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3104201/ (check out the video link at the top right

        1. Usually, I mix a little pureed chipotle in adobo into the meat, then top with cheddar cheese and avocado and serve on toasted buns. A few weeks ago when I made these with really lean beef, I mixed in some minced leftover grilled portabella. It added a great dimension to the smoky chipotle flavors and helped add moisture to the meat.

          When I'm tired of the chipotle mix, sometimes I add a bit of pork sausage, homemade pesto, roasted garlic puree or caramelized onion to the meat.

          1. I top my homemade burgers with 2 yr old white cheddar and tomato jam that I make.

            A simple yet delicious combo.

            1. I have been grinding up different cuts of beef in the food processor to come up with my own ground beef concoction. I look for ideas on the web and come up with very few things. Is it a personal secret of chefs to not give up their beef mixes for hamburgers? There is a restaurant in the neighborhood that has excellent burgers and it is definately more than just sirloin. There must be more than just a fat to meat ratio. I did my own sirloin steak, and it certainly wasn't as good as when I had grinded up a skirt steak. The flavor really was different. I'm thinking about trying filet mignon tips next.

              6 Replies
              1. re: HWiley

                CI did a segment awhile back that called for chuck, short ribs and (I think) srloin as part of their best burger ever.

                1. re: HWiley

                  The best burger I ever had was at The Spotted Pig in NYC a couple of years ago. I wrote to them and asked what there secret was. Of course they wouldn't give up the goods but they did say that they buy a "gourmet blend" from La Frieda Meats.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Colameco did an episode on burgers last year that included interviews Pat LaFrieda and with chefs from a few NYC restaurants known for their great burgers. I don't think that anyone gave up any secrets on the "gourmet blends" they use but it was a good episode. You can watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R6cjN...

                    1. re: EM23

                      Ohmagawd, that was SO awesome. Thanks for posting. I LOVE Prune, too. Wow... I've got a really bad case of The Wants.

                    2. re: lynnlato

                      A great many places have a proprietary blend made only for that house, with their specifications. I did hear a rumor about the SP's burger though. I have zero idea if it's true, but it does make sense in a way. I heard they add a tsp. of creamy peanut butter for every pound of ground meat.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        Shut the front door? Peanut butter? Wow... I, of course, love peanut butter, but I don't recall tasting it but I suppose it's similiar to putting a pat of butter in your patty - extra fatty goodness. I want to try it, have you tried it?

                        Interestingly, I recently had a ding dong burger at a local diner here in NC and it was topped with chunky peanut butter, asian slaw and sriracha, and it was damned good when I thought it wouldn't be. :-)

                  2. I buy 80% lean ground meat from an upscale market like Whole Foods or Central Market. I then lightly form the meat into patties, HEAVILY salt the patties with kosher salt, grill on a very HOT grill to medium (DON'T OVERCOOK!), and serve on a toasted bun with letttuce, tomato, and mayo. Delish!

                    Trust me, If you start with good quality meat, you won't have to trick up your burgers with salsa, olives, chipotles, goat cheese, etc. to make them taste good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Scagnetti

                      This is so true. Also don't keep turning and mashing down on the patties. Our only difference is we grind our own beef.

                    2. guacamole, lettuce, onion, and tomato mmmmm

                      1. Slice a generously-sized pattie in half. Fill with your favorite melty cheese and reseal the meat around it. Then cook and you'll have a gooey surprise inside.

                        1. a good steak rub works for me, and a touch of barbecue sauce

                          1. I use one pound 93/7 ground beef, one package ground turkey (always Jenni-O). I mix in one finely minced red pepper, a finely minced shallot, and about a cup worth of finely minced portabella mushrooms. I add a 2/3 cup of seasoned bread crumbs (i make them) a half a cup of milk, garlic powder, dry mustard, some dried oregano and whatever other items suit me. I mix it up by hand and then shape and grill, sometimes with mesquite rub sprinkled over them. The veggies will release their liquids and keep the meat moist. They never fail to elicit groans of delight from whomever is eating them.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cooknKate

                              Isn't that a meatloaf sandwich that you're making though? :)

                              (oops, in my haste to be snarky, didn't realize the post was 5 years old)

                            2. I was at a small, well reputed meat market and purchased their prime ground beef at 20% fat. Wow, what a HUGE improvement over Costco burger meat.

                              We topped the burgers with cheddar cheese and grilled red onions. It was a memorable meal.

                              1. use chuck-choice or better.

                                1. I buy 80/20 hamburger and mix it with freshly ground salt and pepper on a cutting board and then fashion burgers about 6-8 ounces each and fairly thick. Push your thumb into the middle of one side to make a little depression. This keeps the burger from swelling into a rounded shape. When the burger cooks, it will come out flat.

                                  Cook on a very hot grill about 3-4 minutes per side. If you have a Whole Foods, ask for Neal's Yard Montgomery Cheddar at the cheese counter. This is a whole milk English cheese that makes a fabulous cheeseburger.

                                  1. I put a small lump of butter in the middle.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Interesting... I'm going to try this.

                                    2. I buy ground chuck (at Taylors here in Sac). I finely chop sweet onions and garlic then saute them. After cooling, I add them to the meat mixture and I also add a bit of butter in the middle of the patties... and after I form the patties, I salt and pepper them. I grill on high, both sides, and finish with smoked cheddar cheese... then flop them onto grilled multi-grain buns with tomatoes,iceberg lettuce,ketchup, ball-park mustard. They are med-rare and juicy. I put some luttuce on the bottom and on the top to keep the buns from getting soggy.

                                      1. I use 80/20 beef. I finely dice shallot, salt and pepper, a little worcester sauce or hickory smoked bbq sauce plus a little water (Rao's secret for meatballs) before combining. I shoot for three burgers to the pound. Like another poster i squeeze a dimple.

                                        Heat up my gas weber on high for 12 minutes then put to medium. Cook five minutes on the first side and DO NOT MESS WITH THEM. then flip and cook 4-5 on the other, and DO NOT SQUISH.

                                        I like with American cheese and Heinz ketchup. Daughter turned me onto whole wheat rolls. I place the cheese on the open faced rolls and place them on the bread warming rack in the weber for 1-2 minutes.

                                        1. Still looking for interesting burgers? How about a mozzarella-stuffed pesto pork burger? It's my absolute favorite, and very easy to put together. 3T pesto mixed into 1 lb ground pork. Mix well, but don't over-mix. Then take a slice of mozzarella (I like the fresh mozzarella) and form the patty around it. I like to get about 3 burgers out of a pound of meat. Then just cook/grill to your liking - I'd go for medium to fully cook the pork and melt the cheese inside the burger. We have also switched out the pork for ground turkey, but you may have to add a little breadcrumb.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: COinTX

                                            Sounds good I always find that I have to stuff pork burgers because the fat content in ground pork is not where it use to be and the cheese definitely keeps from drying out. Beef burgers at 20% I like to add very little to the meat, but have to put on a good rub (love an espresso based rub) and borderline overseason outside. Then the fun is the toppings, I also love pesto on burgers, chipotle mayo, chili sauce, avacodo (or guac) always need caramelized or grilled onions, I really only use vine ripened tomatoes as beefsteak matured is a little too "meaty" for me. I like a softer buttery bun and has to be grilled or toasted. Cheeses are always the best part harvarti dill is pretty awesome, goat cheese, blue cheese, horseradish chedder. I love bold flavors on my burgers. Love it on cast iron skillet, but when nice out have to fire up the weber.

                                            1. re: clint1245

                                              I grind my own pork for sausage and use 2:1 pork shoulder to pancetta/bacon.

                                          2. use 20% fat beef patty - brisket, shortrib, chuck

                                            season heavily with salt + pepper
                                            cook in cast iron with beef tallow until medium rare
                                            serve with caramelized onion, slow roasted cherry tomtato, garlic aioli, and roasted cremini mushrooms

                                            11 Replies
                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                450 degree oven
                                                toss mushrooms with pepper, shallot, garlic, grapeseed oil and put in oven
                                                remove and toss with salt, sherry vinegar, and a little butter

                                                sauteeing the mushrooms would be fine as well

                                              2. re: tldmatrix

                                                How are you determining that the mix of brisket, short rib, and chuck comes out to 20% fat? I would think it's much more. Chuck alone is generally accepted as being 80/20.

                                                1. re: tommy

                                                  It should be around 20%, probably a little more, but the more fat the better flavor. You are able to get very lean ground chuck.

                                                  1. re: tldmatrix

                                                    Where are you getting lean chuck?

                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                      Isn't "lean chuck" an oxymoron?

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I don't think so. Chuck is basically 80/20. That's what you are very likely getting when you buy a package of ground beef that's 80/20. If it's 90/10, it's likely sirloin.

                                                        I find 80/20 to be quite lean for a burger.

                                                        1. re: tommy

                                                          I grind my own and leave all the outside fat on so I really don't know the % but it's definitely not lean. Not by a long shot :)

                                                        1. re: tldmatrix

                                                          So you're buying ground chuck from this guy for your hamburgers? That seems unlikely.

                                                          This beef is likely less fatty because it's not corn fed its entire life. They are feeding it grass, which leads to a leaner steer.

                                                          1. re: tommy

                                                            I am not buying from this guy and yes grass fed beef is much leaner. I was wrong about the percent of fat, it would be higher than 20.

                                                2. Someone sent me "101 Burger Builders" and when I need inspiration I check it out. Mine's all marked up, but I found another at:
                                                  Even if I don't use one of theirs, it gives me ideas. I've used it when I'm bored with chicken, too. Anything you can add to a burger, you can add to chicken.

                                                  1. I put bacon and cheddar and sauted onions and peppers inside my burgers then top them with lettuce tomatoes onions. Pickles and my sauce made of honey mustard sweet onion sauce and ketchup and mayo mixed up together so good it will make you drool while eating it just ask my husband lol

                                                    1. I think the best thing to add inside any kind of burger(beef, turkey, veggie etc...) is cheese. Blue is the best I've tried, but I think Brie, as one person suggested, would be excellent. I will try that next time.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: BKK Brendan

                                                        I like buffalo, bacon and blue cheese.

                                                        We have a lot of fun with these - my bud in Sheboygan sent me some limburger and
                                                        brick cheese so the the Farmer John is coming soon. Be sure and try the Sheboygan
                                                        Burger - it's excellent., although the next time will make a brat patty to grill along side the


                                                      2. I'm famous for my burgers although I'm not sure if that's just because my friends haven't had too many outside of their precious animal style ones. Patty is 1/3 lb., 80/20% lean/fat, seasoned very liberally with salt, pepper, and a leetle fish sauce. I like the meat to be salty and fatty! Cooked medium rare on a griddle. Toppings are gorgonzola cheese added to patty while finishing on the griddle so it melts a bit, quick onion jam (balsamic, butter, brown sugar, s&p), arugula, and best store-bought mayo I can get my hands on at the time mixed with sriracha, fresh minced garlic, and lemon juice. Bacon for the bacon heads, and an over-easy fried egg for me!

                                                        Planning on tomato and bacon jams to experiment with next time!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: esquimeaux

                                                          You bet! I want to try making that tomatoe jam.
                                                          I imagine the Blue Ball Cookbook has it.

                                                        2. Blackened burgers. A generous 10 oz. patty of beef coated with Prudhomme's Redfish Magic.
                                                          Use a hot cast-iron skillet, preferably outside as it will make smoke in the house. Put a small pat of butter on the burger. Don't leave it on one side more than a minute or it will burn. Flip it a few times. Comes out juicy with a wonderful spicy crust. Get a nice onion roll from the bakery. I just like a little ketchup and a slice of sweet onion, but sometimes a little green tomato relish also.

                                                          1. Top it with a chunky cranberry sauce and some Wenslevdale cheese.

                                                            1. I made some meatballs the other night to put in pho and maybe I'll use them as a template for burgers sometime. Usually mine are just home ground beef, s&p. But these meatballs had small amounts of finely minced ginger and scallions and tiny amounts of soy and fish sauce and black vinegar. They made fantastic meatballs so MAYBE I'll try it for burger