Comprised from The Prepared Pantry Magazine “Country Home Kitchen.” To sign up for a free subscription to the magazine click here>>
It was a hot, dry day during summer in Idaho. The grain fields were just stubble and dry gusty winds blew chaff into swirls. The sides of the road were straw-colored. It had been dry and hot for days. It was time for a picnic in the mountains.
In Rigby, Idaho, where we live, we can be in the mountains in about a half hour. Deep in the canyons, where the grass is green, it is much cooler and more moist. Above towering pines, the sky is deep blue. There are plenty of places to spend a quiet relaxing evening with the family.
In the summer, we keep a basket packed with non-perishables. Meat and condiments are quickly packed into a cooler with “blue ice.” A camp stove is packed into the truck. If we have burger or brats in the refrigerator, we can be packed for a picnic in ten minutes.
On this particular evening, we headed east on Highway 26 toward Swan Valley and Palisades. Debbie and Ben, our daughter and son-in-law, and their kids followed us. We turned on the dirt road that headed up Antelope Creek.
We turned onto something that was not much more than an ATV track. At the top of a narrow meadow we stopped. The picnic spot looked down the meadow to the tiny creek where a trail crossed it. If the granddaughters don’t make too much noise, there’s always a chance that we might spot a deer slipping through the willows. We set the camp stove up on the tailgate and set up a table for condiments and serving.
I would like to say that this particular evening we made fantastic burgers, something exotic. Most of the time, we just make burgers, plain burgersthough the mountains always seem to make them better. But we know how to make great burgers.
Today, we’ll tell you how to make great burgersburgers stuffed two ways: with the filling mixed into the ground beef and with the filling cached between two layers of ground beef. You can make great burgers either way and stuff them with the fillings that you love.
How to Make Stuffed Burgers
For us, one of the real advantages of stuffed burgers is that we can use lean meat. For most burgers, you need a relatively high fat content; use 80% or 85% lean burger. It’s the fat that makes the burger juicy and satisfying. But with these burgers, you can use leaner meat because there is cheese, butter, or bacon inside the meat.
Mix the filling ingredients right into the ground beef before forming the patties.
Make two thin pattiesa burger press helps for thisput cheese or another goodie between the patties, and press the edges together.
Eight Stuffed Burger Ideas to Get You Started
Make Cheese-Stuffed Burgers.
Instead of placing the cheese on top of the burger, use a burger press to form two thin patties. Lay the cheese or other filling between the patties and mold the edges together to trap the cheese as it melts.
Make Swiss and Mushroom Burgers.
Make a cheese-stuffed burger as above but with Swiss cheese. Top the burger with sauted mushrooms.
Make Tex-Mex Burgers.
Toss the ground beef with diced green chilies, chopped cilantro, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese before forming the patties. Mix in some taco or other southwest seasoning.
Make Cheese and Herb Burgers.
Make burgers as for Tex-Mex burgers but instead of chilies, use your favorite herbs.
Make Buttery Onion Burgers.
Freeze a cube of butter then grate it as you would cheese. Mix the grated butter, a chopped sweet onion, and your choice of spices into your ground beef before forming the patties.
To keep the butter hard, place the grater and a plate or cutting board in the freezer before use. Make sure the meat is ice cold.
Make Blue Cheese and Bacon Burgers.
Mix crumbled blue cheese into the ground beef. Cook and top with crisply fried bacon. If you are cooking on the grill, try wrapping the bacon strips around the burger patties before cooking. Secure the strips with toothpicks.
Make Italian Burgers.
Mix one part ground beef with one part ground Italian sausage. Form the patties. Season with additional oregano and basil or mix in a little Italian dressing.
Make Chuck Wagon Bacon Burgers.
Microwave the bacon until it is partly done. With kitchen shears, snip the bacon into bits. Mix the bacon bits into your ground beef along with a Colorado Cattle Company Steak and Burger Seasoning or your favorite seasoning. If you would like a little more flavor, open a can of mild diced chilies and mix that into the burger. Do not over-mix the meat. Form the burgers with a burger press.
Make Asian Burgers.
Pick your favorite Asian sauceThai Sweet Chili Sauce is one of our favoritesand mix it into your burger. Because it’s interspersed through the meat, flavoring every bite, it won’t take a lot. Make teriyaki burgers by adding teriyaki sauce or another sauce from the store, General Tsao burgers by adding General Tsao Sauce or whatever strikes your fancy.
Great Burger Recipes & Secrets
Store burgers are boring. Most of the time, you get the standard condiments plus cheese, maybe bacon, and lettuce and tomato. That’s it. There are no herbs or blue cheese stuffing or jalapeo peppers.
At one point, we set out to explore the world of burgers. We started that trek with virtual visits of great restaurants. Most renowned restaurants publish their menus. So we got on the internet and started pulling up menus looking for exciting, different burgers to make. Soon we had a long list.
We then retreated to the test kitchen to start experimenting. We made tons of burgers. Lucky customers! We would traipse down the stairs to the store with the extra burgers: “Who would like to try a Thai Peanut Burger?” “Who would like to try an Italian Cheese and Basil Burger?” We got opinions and customers got burgers. From this came ten great burgers.
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Dennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking, available free in an e-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon for $10.
He loves to help people bake and is giving away Free Digital Cookbooks and Magazines. There is no cost or obligation. To sign up for the FREE subscription of “Country Home Kitchen” and other great E-books and giveaways, click here.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children.
To learn more about The Prepared Pantry, visit our website at www.preparedpantry.com.