Who better to help you find the world's best hamburger recipe than the BBQ Queens, Karen Adler and Judith Fertig? As authors of numerous cookbooks, including 300 Big and Bold Barbecue and Grilling Recipes and The BBQ Queens' Big Book of Barbecue, the two have the inside track on what it is that makes a burger recipe truly great.
World's Best Hamburger Recipes
Adler and Fertig share a few of their favorite burger recipes with LoveToKnow Best readers, along with their thoughts on what makes a burger great.
1. Bistro Burger
Ooooh-la-la! Start out with a juicy, grilled beef burger, then top it with sauteed shallots, Bearnaise sauce made from a mix (or Bearnaise Buttered and grill toasted brioche buns?), and a little Roquefort on a brioche bun.
2. Hickory Pork Burger
Juicy and smoky, this burger might convert you away from beef. You combine the ground pork with buttermilk, onion, garlic, and herbs, then grill to a juicy finish, using a little hickory wood on the coals or in the smoker box on your gas grill.
3. Tropical Lamb Burger with Fresh Mango Chutney
This burger is refreshing and tasty on a hot day. You combine the ground lamb with dessicated (not sweetened flaked) coconut and cashews, then top it with a fresh mango mixture. Grill some pita bread, and you've got dinner.
4. Moroccan Lamb Burgers
Combine ground lamb with Moroccan spices and green onion, grill, then top with a harissa mayonnaise or tzaziki for a really bold burger.
5. Wood-Grilled Crab Cakes with Lemon Chive Butter
If you can pat a beef burger together, you can do a crab cake. Grill the crab cakes using a perforated grill rack (like a cookie sheet with holes punched in it) or a griddle, placed on the grill grates. Toast the cut side of a croissant with the Lemon Chive Butter and spoon some Creamy Mustard Sauce over the crab cake - deeelish!
Great Burger Tips From the BBQ Queens
What do you think it is that separates truly great burgers from ones that are just so-so?
Fertig & Adler: A great burger starts out with freshly ground or finely chopped, quality meat/poultry/fish/shellfish. For beef burgers, start with an 80 or 85 percent ratio of lean to 20 or 15 percent fat. For a very gourmet beef burger, ask for ground tenderloin, strip steak, or sirloin. You can also make delicious burgers with ground bison, pork, turkey, lamb, tuna, or crab instead of beef.
What are the most important tips for home cooks to follow to make sure their burgers turn out great every time?
Fertig & Adler: Be gentle with the burger mixture; too much handling can produce a tough burger. Use medium-high heat indoors or out. Turn them once on the grill or the griddle.
Are there any unique burger toppings that you are particularly fond of?
Fertig & Adler: It's hard to go wrong with a garden-fresh tomato, crisp lettuce, mild onion slices, and good cheese. Beyond that, you can use freshly made aiolis or garlic mayonnaises or doctor up your own mayonnaise with condiments like bottled chipotle sauce, Dijon mustard, or harissa (a spicy chili paste commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine). To make a Caesar Burger, buy a bag of Caesar Salad fixin's and toss the salad, then top the burger with the salad that's packed with flavor.
Do you have a favorite restaurant for burgers for those times you aren't able to cook at home?
Fertig & Adler: For a fast food burger, it's hard to beat Culver's for a thin, well-browned beef burger with quality toppings and a buttery bun. For a gourmet burger, Blanc Burger + Bottles restaurant in Kansas City dishes up a beef burger au poivre with watercress aioli on a brioche bun that's hard to resist.
LoveToKnow would like to thank the BBQ Queens for taking time out of their busy teaching, barbecuing, and writing schedule to share their thoughts about the world's best hamburger recipes with readers.