Milwaukee’s outrageous Bloody Mary with a mini cheeseburger is definitely not boring Sobelman's Pub & Grill photo

Milwaukee’s outrageous Bloody Mary with a mini cheeseburger is definitely not boring. Sobelman’s Pub & Grill photo.

Instead of serving up the same old recipe, jazz up your burgers this grilling season! Here are a few tips.

To add flavor and variety to your grilled burgers, why not try expanding your choice of buns? There are sesame seed buns, onion-flavored buns, honey wheat buns and 7-grain sandwich buns just to name a few. There are also low-carb buns for those who are watching their weight or bread loaves, like baguettes, as well.

Try different kinds of burgers. You can choose turkey burgers, pork burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers, soy burgers, bean and grain burgers, fish burgers and more!

To make the beef eaters in the crowd happy, try serving new recipes.

Many people love venison burgers as an alternative to beef burgers. Buffalo and Bison burgers are also good substitutes for beef burgers.

You can add chopped ingredients to ground beef to make your burgers more interesting. Experiment with chopped onions, tomatoes, peppers, dill pickles, mushrooms, bacon, cheese, potatoes or even walnuts.

Serving alternative condiments and toppings on your burgers. Substitute Thousand Island Dressing for mayonnaise or salsa for ketchup to add a new taste to boring burgers. You can also add steak sauce, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, Ranch dressing, Italian dressing or Blue Cheese dressing to your condiment selection. The list is practically endless.

Instead of serving the usual sliced tomatoes, onions and cheese, give foods like pineapple rings, sliced cucumbers, green peppers, radishes and mushrooms a try. Sauerkraut, bacon strips, grated carrots and horseradish are just a few other delicious toppings.

Before you head out to the grill, browse the farmers’ market or grocery store to get inspiration from fresh produce. Experiment with new ingredients that can make the ordinary into the extraordinary. When it comes to creating your own, don’t be afraid to mix it up and combine a variety of ingredients that appeal to you.

burger 2

Mediterranean Burgers

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or lamb, turkey)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 kaiser or other sandwich rolls
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine feta cheese, oregano, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the lemon zest. Add ground meat and mix gently. Form into four 1-inch thick patties.

In a blender, puree olives, dill, parsley, lemon juice, sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a smooth paste.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above the cooking grate for only 3 to 4 seconds).

Grill burgers, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes total.

Split rolls and toast cut sides on the grill. Brush toasted sides with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread each with about 1 teaspoon of the olive spread.

Top with burgers, tomato, cucumber, red onion and romaine lettuce.

burger 3

Grilled Sourdough Cheddar Burger

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground round
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 (1 1/2-ounce) slices sourdough bread

Directions

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Preheat the broiler. You can also grill the burgers on an outdoor grill.

Combine beef, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Divide the beef mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/4-inch-thick oval patty. Place the patties on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Place 1 cheese slice over each of 4 bread slices; top each slice with 1 burger and 3 tablespoons onion mixture. Cover with the remaining bread slices.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; add 2 sandwiches to the pan. Cook for 4 minutes on each side until browned and cheese melts. Repeat the procedure with 1/2 tablespoon butter and the remaining sandwiches.

burger 4

 

Italian Meatball Burgers

Ingredients

  • 6 kaiser or ciabatta sandwich rolls 
  • 8 ounces sweet or spicy turkey or pork Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or ground turkey
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 slices deli provolone cheese (mozzarella is also ok)
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 6 tablespoons marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Split rolls.

Remove casing from the sausage. Combine sausage, chopped basil and next 5 ingredients (through ground sirloin) in a medium bowl. Divide beef mixture into 6 equal portions with moist hands, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick burger patty. Press thumb in the center of each burger, leaving a nickel-sized indentation.

Place burgers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray or oil; grill 6 minutes. Turn burgers over; grill 2 minutes. Place a slice of cheese on each burgers and grill 6 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°F. Remove from the grill; let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly grill the rolls.

Place 1 basil leaf on the bottom half of each roll; top each with 1 burger, 1 tablespoon marinara sauce and the roll top.

burger 5

Roasted Piquillo Pepper Lamb Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted piquillo or other red peppers 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 wide, crusty bread loaf, such as a bâtard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Basil pesto

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine lamb, rosemary, roasted peppers, salt and pepper. Form into 6 burgers about 3/4 inch thick. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate 2 hours.

Cut 12 slices, each about 1/2 in. thick, from the bread loaf and save the rest for another use. Lightly brush slices all over with the olive oil.

With a silicone brush or oiled paper towels, lightly oil a charcoal grill over a solid bed of hot coals or a gas grill heated to high. Lightly toast bread the on grill, turning once, and transfer to a platter.

Lay burgers on the grill; close lid on a gas grill. Cook burgers, turning once, until they’re done the way you like, about 6 minutes for medium-rare. Set each burger on a slice of grilled bread. Top with some pesto and then the remaining bread.

Burger 6

BBQ Chicken Burgers

Serves 4

ingredients

For the burgers

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco (hot) sauce
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 burger or other sandwich rolls

For the coleslaw

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, shredded coarse
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Make burgers:

In a small bowl stir together Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, garlic paste and Tabasco until sauce is smooth. In a large bowl stir together chicken, onion, bread crumbs, and 2 tablespoons of the sauce until combined and form into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Burgers may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.

Reserve remaining sauce for brushing on the burgers while grilling. Refrigerate the sauce, covered, until needed

Make coleslaw:

In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, honey and mustard. Add remaining coleslaw ingredients and salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Coleslaw may be made 4 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated

Prepare grill. Toast rolls and set aside on a serving platter.

Grill burgers on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches above glowing coals or on a gas grill heated to high, brushing frequently with barbecue sauce, 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Serve burgers on the toasted buns topped with the coleslaw.

burgers 1

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