ind a new favorite way to cook burgers minus the beef. Burgers have come a long way since the original ground-beef patty graced the inside of a white-bread bun. Creative burger variations and non-beef burgers, in particular, are growing more and more popular in our grilling-happy, sandwich-loving culture.
Whether you don’t eat beef, only eat poultry, or follow a fish-only diet, you can find a burger that fits your taste. Almost any ground protein can be transformed into the juicy, flavorful burger of your choice. Guidelines to keep in mind while deciding on how to prepare your burger include:
- Make sure to add flavor to pep up your preferred protein. Ground beef needs just a dash of salt and pepper to reach its full potential.
- Be careful with cook times. Lean proteins will cook up in a jiff and can become dry and tough.
- Grease your grill well. Red meat usually contains enough natural fat to prevent sticking on the grill, but leaner proteins will require a well-greased grill. A nonstick, perforated grill pan is also a good tool to ensure your burgers make it from grill to plate without any messy mishaps.
Ground buffalo patties are a very close cousin of the beef burger and can be prepared almost the same way. Buffalo meat is higher in protein, lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol, and a touch sweeter than beef. Due to its leaner composition, make sure not to overcook buffalo burgers. For a rich twist, try topping buffalo burgers with a thin slice of foie gras just before serving.
Lamb-lovers will agree, nothing beats a bacon-wrapped patty of ground lamb that’s been flavored with snipped fresh rosemary and black pepper. To keep the smoky, salty bacon in place while the burger cooks, try securing the patty with a metal skewer horizontally through the center.
Turkey is truly a lean way to go when choosing your burger protein. Complementary flavors for turkey include sautéed onion and mixed organic mushrooms, herbs, avocado, pesto and, of course, bacon. Want to enrich your turkey burgers even further? Try adding a few handfuls of finely shredded duck confit to the mixture before forming into patties, then top with duck bacon.
Duck, in particular, lends itself to Asian flavors. Rich, gamey duck breast tastes terrific when ground and seasoned with fresh ginger, scallions, and soy sauce. If you’re a duck purist, try enriching your ground duck mixture with chopped duck confit — the slow-cooked meat will only increase the tenderness and duck-forward flavor of your burgers.