Best burgers face off for Father’s Day

Sunday, June 15 is the day Dad reigns supreme. Although Dads are often kings in the kitchen too, on their special day a menu with them in mind is always welcome. In our family, a barbecued hamburger well-made and well presented, although humble fare, is still top of the must-have list. Here are some recipes that have received five gold stars in our home and I hope they receive rave reviews in yours. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Best Burgers

My husband Jim takes burgers seriously and he makes burgers worth eating! These are some of the points that make the difference between a good burger and a WOW! burger:

• Use a fresh bakery bun. We get ours from Montmartre, 105 Midwest Rd. near Lawrence and Midland, and opt for a whole-grain, medium-size bun that can be toasted on the barbecue, or, in a pinch, in the toaster.

• Use Dijon mustard. (Include ball park mustard if you must!)

• Dill pickles are essential, thinly sliced lengthwise to droop nicely over the beef patty.

• Freshly sliced Ontario tomatoes are another essential. Please serve at room temperature, not refrigerated – it kills the flavour.

Other possibilities:

• Some people love fresh sliced onions. Use thinly sliced vidalias or red onions which have a milder flavour than cooking onions.

• Add sweet relish for the sweet tooth or pickled hot peppers for zip.

• Use lean ground beef, not extra lean (you need a little fat for juiciness), or medium (it tends to be too fatty and will cause flare up and burning on the barbecue).

• Clean the barbecue grill ahead of time using a wire barbecue brush and oil lightly with vegetable oil. Pre-heat to medium before placing the burger on the grill.

• A spoonful of aioli garlic mayonnaise is always welcome. To make it, use 1/2 cup (125 mL) commercial light mayonnaise and add one clove of minced fresh garlic with 1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil stirred into the mix.

Jim’s Best Burgers

For best results, mix meat lightly with a fork to combine all the ingredients and form into four even-sized patties about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Patties may be made ahead, covered and refrigerated up to eight hours ahead of grilling.

1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly made breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp (25 mL) ketchup
1 tbsp (15 mL) horseradish
1 tsp (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

In a mixing bowl, stir together meat, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork to combine ingredients and shape into four even patties. Grill on pre-heated medium grill without pressing down on patties, turning once. Patties are done when pierced with a sharp point of a knife and no longer pink inside. Serve immediately on toasted buns.

Alexa’s Best Burgers

My daughter has started grilling her own burgers with enthusiasm and mouth-watering results. Let’s see who wins the bet as “best!”

1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
2 strips of finely chopped side bacon
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly made brown breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp (5 mL) each, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

Cheese Filling:
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded extra old cheddar cheese

In a mixing bowl, stir together beef, bacon, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper until well combined. Form into four patties. Poke a hole into each patty and insert about 2 tbsp (25 mL) shredded cheese. Re-shape into patty and repeat with remaining patties. Grill on medium until no longer pink inside.

Best Ever Chicken Burgers

For a lighter taste sensation try these succulent patties, but be sure to serve them with condiments that complement the taste of chicken such as chutney, bread and butter pickles, shredded lettuce or even steamed asparagus.

1 lb (500 g) lean ground chicken
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon rind
1 tsp (5 mL) dried tarragon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fresh black pepper

In a mixing bowl, stir together chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon rind, tarragon, salt and pepper. Form four even patties and grill on medium until no longer pink inside and juices run clear. Serve on a toasted bun immediately.


Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer  –

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