Some good ground beef, preferably not too lean (when making burgers, fat is our friend), and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper is all you need to make a fine burger most days. But on some other days, you might want a burger with a bit more zing, more interest, more panache.
Some days might call for a deviled burger.
Shallots, mustard, chili sauce, hot sauce — just a little bit of these ingredients turn plain burgers into “can I get this recipe?” burgers. If you are looking for more heat, just increase the amount of dry mustard and/or chili powder.
Note that this recipe calls for ancho chili powder, a ground spice made of 100 percent ancho peppers. It’s available in the spice section of most supermarkets. This is different from a general chili powder, sometimes called chili blend or chili seasoning, which contains a mix of ground chilies, garlic, cumin, oregano and maybe additional spices. But if that blend is what you have on hand, it will still make a burger with portfolio.
These burgers, like all burgers, can easily be made into a cheeseburger, using whatever cheese you like, from cheddar to Emmental to provolone to blue cheese to a good old slice of American cheese. The seasonings in the meat take well to a variety of cheeses, from pungent to mild. It’s a question of whether you want to keep pumping up the flavor or just add some meltiness to the equation.
Instead of ketchup on top, you might also try a bit of the chili sauce. A slice of sharp onion keeps the flavor ratcheting upwards.
Bring it, you say? Oh, it’s on.
• 2 pounds ground chuck (80/20)
• 2 tablespoons chili sauce
• 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
• 2 tablespoons minced parsley
• 1 tablespoon jarred horseradish, squeezed well to remove excess liquid
• 1 tablespoon dry mustard
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• Sliced or crumbled cheese, if desired
• 6 split burger buns
• Ketchup, mustard, chili sauce
Form the patties: Place the chili sauce, shallot, parsley, horseradish, mustard, chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the meat. Use your hands to lightly but thoroughly mix the seasonings into the meat. Divide the beef into six or eight even portions, and use your hands to form even, round patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Use your fingers to press a small indentation into the middle of each patty.
Make the burgers: Place the patties on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until they are cooked to your liking. During the last minute of cooking, place the cheese over the burgers, if desired. Also place the buns on the grill and let them toast lightly, if desired.
Place a burger on the bottom of each bun, and top as desired. Place the bun top over the burger and serve.
Start to finish: 25 minute
Makes: 6 large burgers or 8 medium burger
Nutritional information: 520 calories; 292 calories from fat; 32 g fat (12 g saturated; 2 g trans fats); 107 mg cholesterol; 668 mg sodium; 24 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 31 g protein.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman.