The basic “Grilled Hamburger” is a family favorite that we enjoy frequently! I like to keep our burgers simple, healthy and convenient by using pre-made grass-fed beef patties. Serve with baked onion rings and dinner is done!
Whether it’s a cook-out, regular weekday meal, or a holiday, you can always count on a hamburger to satisfy! Grilled hamburgers are a part of my “Dinner Favorites” list because they are easy, versatile, a great source of protein, and everyone in the family loves them. Generally, I rotate through all 10 “Dinner Favorite” meals, choosing one per week. However, hamburgers sometimes get thrown into the plan even more frequently because hamburgers are… awesome!
Hamburgers can be a fairly healthy meal as long as you start with quality ingredients and don’t load them up with too much extra fat and calories! On a recent visit to the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, my son ordered the Local Legendary Burger which had a layer of macaroni and cheese. Yeah… it was as good as it sounds! How do I know? Because my husband and I ordered one to share! Half a burger was more than enough for me, while our son impressed us by finishing his all on his own. He also consumed a whole day’s worth of calories in one meal!!
Ordering a hamburger at a restaurant once in a while is a nice splurge. However, at home, it’s nice to have control over the ingredients so I can make it a bit healthier. It may not be as juicy (we choose leaner meat), but a home-cooked hamburger is an easy way to provide a protein-rich meal that I can feel good about serving!
There are a few basics that I like to start off with…
- The Beef: With so many excellent choices of pre-made burgers, I see no reason to take the extra time and effort to make my own! I only buy grass-fed beef burgers which are 80-90% lean. (I’m convinced that grass-fed beef tastes better and is better for you!) Often, I buy fresh, pre-made patties, but I also like to keep a box of frozen patties in the freezer for back-up. The Bubba burger brand is excellent. I like how they can go straight from the freezer to the grill.
- The Sandwich Bun: There are lots of options here, but our top choice is Martin’s Potato Rolls. (These are the buns Shake Shack uses too!) They are the perfect size (not too small or big), they’re soft and they only have 130 calories each bun. The key is to choose a bun that doesn’t overwhelm the burger. I hate it when I have to take 2 or 3 bites just to get past the bun and get to the beef! Martin’s are the perfect size and texture!
- Lettuce: I prefer a “big” leaf of lettuce on my burger, as opposed to a bunch of chopped up lettuce. It must be crisp! You can find convenient, pre-washed, ready-to-eat green leaf or romaine lettuce leaf at the grocery store. These are perfect to use as a wrap to replace the bun, if you so desire!
- On The Side: In our household it’s a tie between Onion Rings and French Fries. (The adults prefer the onion rings so we win!) French fries are great, especially sweet potato fries, but I like to change things up by serving Onion Rings. I love the Alexia brand (plus all of their fries too). They cook up in about 20 minutes in the oven and they turn out perfectly crisp with just a touch of sweetness! Since they are baked, they are not covered in grease, which would be a real “turn-off”.
Build Your Burger
It’s fun to experiment and try “crazy” burger concoctions, but when it comes right down to it, you can’t beat the basic burger with lettuce, tomato and pickles! (We’re not fans of raw onion, so that’s why it’s not here! Besides, the onion rings on the side make up for that!)
I’m certainly not an expert on making burgers. However, there are a few tricks I have learned that help make them extra awesome!
- Lightly butter the bun before you toast it. Toast the bun on the grill, under the broiler, or in the toaster!
- If you place the cheese on the burger too soon (while still cooking) if may completely melt away to almost nothing. Wait until the very last second to add the cheese, or add the cheese as soon as you remove the patty from the grill.
- If you are using lettuce, lay that down on top of the cheese/ patty. It will provide some texture to then place the slippery items on (pickle, tomato, etc.) Otherwise, when you bite into your burger all the toppings may push their way out the other side! I hate it when that happens! The lettuce trick should help!
There are endless variations to burgers! With so many options, you could easily have one burger each week if you really wanted to! Here are just a few ideas…
- Instead of grass-fed beef, try a vegan burger from the frozen aisle.
- Instead of the potato bun try an onion roll, pretzel bun, pita bread, a large leaf of lettuce or use a fork and knife and skip the outer layer.
- For toppings try bacon, sautéed onions, slaw, sauerkraut, relish, bbq sauce, or hummus.
- If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this list of “100 Best Burger Topping Ideas” from Delish! I love the idea of a fried egg, bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup. I think I’ll pass on the peanut butter and jelly version!
Don’t own a grill or is it too cold to go outside? No worries, cook your burger in a skillet on the stove-top or bake your patties in the oven.
Even though this burger truly is a “no-recipe meal”, I still included directions that you may print if you’d like! Get creative and be sure to make note of your favorite combinations! Enjoy!
GRILLED HAMBURGER SERVED WITH BAKED ONION RINGS
- 1 box of 4 hamburger patties, preferably grass-fed
- 4 potato sandwich rolls
- 4 slices deli cheese, such as Swiss or Cheddar
- 1 pkg large green leaf lettuce, pre-washed
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 jar thin sliced sandwich pickles
- ketchup, mustard, etc.
- 1 bag frozen onion rings, (or french fries)
- Bake onion rings according to package directions (about 20 minutes, turning once).
- Prepare hamburger toppings.
- Pre-heat grill to high, oil the grates and place hamburger patties directly over the heat.
- Grill patties 3 minutes, flip, then grill about another 5 minutes for Medium (135-150F) or 6 minutes for Medium-Well (150-165F). (You may need to adjust the time if patties were frozen.)
- Add a slice of cheese to each patty during the last few seconds of grilling, or immediately upon removing patty from grill.
- Remove patties to a plate, cover with foil and rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, butter the inside of the buns and place on indirect heat to toast.
- Serve burgers with toppings and onion rings.