Of course, most burgers are also usually slathered in nightshades, dripping in tomato-based barbecue sauce or topped with pools of ketchup and mustard (I see you paprika, you can run but you can’t hide!).
No more! Trust me when I say you’ll never miss those burgers again! These babies are a hit at every barbecue we’ve taken them to. They turn out tender, juicy, and will blow you away with flavour. You can see how spectacularly juicy they are in these photos – trust me, that’s no photography trick! No barbecue sauce needed here!
(I also would just like to note before I dive in that at the time I took the prep pictures, we were QUADRUPLING the recipe in preparation for a big dinner, so everything will look 4x more than it actually is in the prep stage!)
First we get our ground beef. I like mine lean – enough fat that it’s delicious without having to feel too guilty about it! It should go in a large bowl. Like the meatballs in my Italian Wedding Soup recipe, we want to handle the beef as little as possible to make sure it stays light and tender, so we’re going to add all our ingredients before we hand-mix.
Then we add an egg. The egg and crackers are essential because they form a ‘glue’ that helps keep the patty together. Otherwise you end up with a meaty crumbly mess, and no one wants that! RIP All Cristina’s Attempted Burgers 2008-2012.
Now all the spices (YUMMMM!)
Time to mix! Using your hands, get right in there and mush it all together until fairly uniform. Try not to overhandle it. You should be able to see that it is clumping really well and all the flecks of spices are even throughout.
At this point you can either use your hands to roll the meat into balls and flatten them to about an inch thick in the centre, or you can use a hamburger press if you’ve got one. Depending on your burger size preference, you can either make 4 large burgers or 5 medium-sized. Do what you like; I’m not the boss of you! Just be aware that they will shrink during cooking
Can I interject right now about how much I love barbecued food? There’s just something primal about cooking meat over a fire, like cavemen. Cavemen with a gas grill. And a stainless steel flipper.
Okay, cook ’em until you see the brown, cooked part start to curl up the sides of the burger, then flip ‘em over and cook the rest of the way! Ideally, you should only flip the burgers once. Too much handling makes them tough.
Look at those grill marks! I would love to tell you that it’s exactly so many minutes when they’re done, but unfortunately grilling is an art that requires a bit of trial and error (just ask any ‘Master Griller’). So much depends on your barbecue and grilling style. The burger should be completely brown both on the outside, and the inside. You can just cut one open a bit to check that the inside is no longer pink until you get the feel of it. It should be about 4-5 minutes, give or take, if you’re cooking on low-medium heat. I know some people like the inside of their burger to be pink, but you know I’m paranoid about food poisoning, so my burgers get cooked all the way through!
While they’re cooking, slap on some cheese if you’re so inclined! We love using thick slices of sharp white cheddar. Close the lid to get the cheese really melty! (Mr. Nomato’s special burgers were cooked before any of the ‘poison’ burgers, and no Kraft Sliced Cheese touched his! Completely allergen free, I assure you – and he got to eat his first, so win/win!)
Yummmmmm melty cheeeeese…..
Serve how you like! We are guac addicts in this house, so we usually toss some of my recipe on a burger bun, along with some more veggies if we feel like it (caramelized onions and mushrooms are the best!). You could also experiment with other cheeses – blue cheese is a hit, swiss, brie, all amazing. You could forgo the guacamole and just put avocados instead… But honestly, I could eat these burgers completely plain! They practically explode with flavour. The grill really infuses them with smoky goodness, and brings out all those fantastic spices!
Oh man. I could eat these forever. Hamburgers for daaaaaaayyyys.
AND they freeze really well! So you can make a bunch, form them into patties and freeze them, with freezer paper in between each patty! Ready to take to any barbecue so you can enjoy a barbecue knowing your food is safe!
WARNING: if invited to a barbecue, do not under any circumstances a) brag about your burger, or b) share your burger. This will result in other party guests trying to steal it from you. And trust me, you will NOT want to share. These babies are tender, flavourful and incredibly juicy! YUM.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 10-12 crackers (can use plain Ritz OR Saltines, either works), crushed
- 1 egg
- ½ Tbsp garlic (minced or powdered)
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- Dash each of oregano, cilantro and pepper
- Dash of salt IF not using salted crackers.
- Place all of your ingredients in a large bowl: meat, crushed crackers, egg and spices. Mix only once ALL of the ingredients are in the bowl.
- Using your hands, mix all ingredients together until the meat, crackers, egg and spices stick together and are completely mixed in. Try not to overhandle.
- Split meat into 4-5 balls and flatten into patties using either your hands or a hamburger press. They should be about an inch thick at the centre.
- Heat grill to medium-low, and place burgers on the barbecue.
- Wait until you start to see the cooked, brown part of the burger begin to creep up the sides of each patty, and then flip.
- Wait until cooked all the way through (3-5 minutes). If desired, place sharp white cheddar or other cheese on top to melt while the burgers are cooking.
- Serve as you like: with/without a bun, with guacamole, caramelized onions and/or mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, onions, everything is delicious! But you can eat them plain and they will still be fantastic.
This recipe was featured on Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday as the Most-Clicked Recipe of the Week!