Messy Meals: Burger Edition

A cheeseburger with a homemade cabbage and apple slaw on a sheet of parchment paper.

Welcome to the first of Messy Meals: Burger Edition! 

(Just so you know, this is the intro post with notes and a grocery list. The recipes will begin to go up tomorrow.)

Burger recipes are usually a summer thing; whether they are made on the grill, the stove, or in the oven and then loaded with lots of fresh veggies or fruit. However, I wanted to share these cheeseburger recipes now and make them less about the veggies that go on the burgers, and more about the sauce.

These sauces are simple to make, (one comes out of a jar) and all are delicious. However, I recommend using less sauce than I did for the pictures. I wanted to make sure you could see the sauce and added way too much. The burgers were still delicious, just super messy

Now, I know these burgers are about the sauce, but we still need to know how to build the burger, so let’s talk about it.

Building the Burger

  • When it comes to ground beef, the best ratio of lean to fat is 80% lean to 20% fat. Less fat can lead to a dry burger, and more fat can lead to a greasy burger. You should be able to find the ratio somewhere on the packaging.
  • If you want to use freshly ground beef, you can ask the butcher at the grocery store or your local butcher shop. Ground chuck is a good cut by itself, but you can try a custom blend with short rib or bacon if you are feeling adventurous. You can also ask the butcher for their opinion on the best blends.
  • I used preformed burger patties because I did not want to shape them myself. If you do shape the burgers yourself, make sure they are a little bigger than the buns; they shrink when cooked.
  • Sprinkle the outside of the burger with kosher salt right before cooking it. Use kosher salt instead of sea salt or table salt because kosher salt is less salty and leaves more room for error.
  • I highly recommend buying a digital meat thermometer if you do not already have one. The burgers should have an internal temperature of at least 160 Fahrenheit or 71 Celsius.
  • I’m not picky when it comes to the type of bun. Just remember to toast it to stop it from becoming soggy.
  • I used sharp cheddar cheese for all four of the burgers, but you can mix it up if you prefer. 
And that’s it! Those are the general things you need to know before making the burgers. As usual, I’ll give you more specific notes in each recipe, including ideas on how to use up any leftover burger sauce.

Here’s a grocery list (I’m pretty sure I included everything) and I’ll talk to you soon!

P.S. Don’t forget to go through your fridge/pantry to see what you have before heading to the grocery store!

  • 2 crisp apples like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp
  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • Carrots
  • Fresh chives
  • Green and/or purple cabbage
  • Arugula
  • 8 oz can of crushed pineapple
  • 4 burger buns of choice
  • Fig jam
  • Light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Stoneground mustard
  • Red chili flakes
  • Whole or ground coriander seed
  • Neutral oil like grapeseed or canola
Meat and Dairy
  • 24 oz ground beef or 4 six ounce beef patties
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Sharp cheddar cheese slices
  • Unsalted butter
  • Large eggs
Cheeseburger with grilled onions and fig jam.

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