A Perfect Burger – Introducing The Gridiron Burger

super easy

Flavor in every ingredient making this the perfect burger. Homemade and sugar-free mustard, ketchup, and ranch dressing with a quick pickle of organic cucumbers and tomatoes, caramelized onions then add in peppered bacon, Hatch green chiles, gouda and Colby cheese, red leaf lettuce and of course, the perfect burger patty and you have the Gridiron burger.

The perfect burger…..ahhhhhhh It’s grilling season y’all! WOO HOO! Is anyone else happy about this?  I absolutely love this time of year.  Although I live in an area where technically we could grill all year long, there is that time when Spring begins creeping into Summer that makes you want to fire up that grill and hang outside with friends, family and of course, the most amazing food.

Have you ever set out to grill, prepped your grill worthy burger and your sides and when the temperature was just right, slapped those burgers on the grill and they fell apart?  Ya, me too.  Back in the day…before I really knew anything about protein, it’s structure, the Maillard reaction etc., etc. lol If you happen to share the same experience as I have in the past, read on my friend and we will make it so a burger fiasco never happens again.  (I can’t make any promises about dogs and burger stealing, but still)

Building the perfect burger patty

It all starts with the type of meat you choose. You know those big, pre-formed tubes of “meat” that you find in the grocery store? Personally, I don’t like to use them.  I don’t know if it’s just me but every time I have ever purchased one, I ended up with bits of a hard unknown substance in my mouth.  For me, that is a complete no-no when I’m meant to be savoring rich and juicy, tender hamburger.

Our family prefers a really juicy burger. Not greasy, juicy.  There is a difference.  For us, that means ground chuck.  I normally tend to pick out a chuck roast that I like the marbling on (beef to fat ratio) and have my butcher grind it for me.  This serves two purposes. 1. I know exactly what my “hamburger” has in it (the roast I just picked out) and 2. I’m avoiding additional additives that are allowed by the USDA to be included in pre-ground and packaged hamburger.  Ingredients such as; added seasoning (no thanks), extenders or binders (double no thanks), phosphate (uh, what?), and added fat (where did this come from and what kind of fat is it?).

 

Have a meat grinder at home?

You can also grind your own meat at home if you happen to have a meat grinder. KitchenAid makes a really convenient one for your stand mixer that I love and often use when I have the time.  However, our local grocer or butcher does not charge an additional fee to grind, prep, or cut our selection for us.  BONUS! I’m sure if you checked with your meat purveyor you may find the same thing as well. I purchased a 3.5-pound chuck roast and had it ground into hamburger at my local store.  Then I brought it home and went to work.

I’m not a fan of the hockey puck burger.  You know the one, where you form a ginormous flat patty thinking “oh my goodness this is going to be amazing” and then……it’s too small for the bun, it’s hard as a rock, dry, and you literally want to go play hockey with it to work out some of the frustration.

To solve this issue, we do two things.  First, we make big fat patties and second, we wait to season them.

Why wait on the salt and pepper?

Making your patties ahead of time is a great way to get a jump on the prep work that is needed for a perfect burger grilling session.  Where we sometimes fall short is not contemplating the reaction or the result of what we are doing to our food.  Salt is an amazing mineral, I mean think about it.  It was used since the beginning of time practically, to cure, store and preserve meat for our ancient ancestors, it brings out the amazing flavor in whatever food we adorn it with, and it also breaks down protein.

Mixing in your salt with your perfect burger mixture is only advisable when you are taking them straight to the grill.  If not, don’t let the salt hit the burger until right before they are taking a heat bath.  By not prematurely salting your burger, you are allowing those perfect sticky, stringy strands to maintain their integrity as well as stick together so they don’t fall apart, become leathery, or the sadness of the aforementioned hockey puck.

Let’s from those patty’s!

I like to use my large round cookie cutter. It really makes the perfect burger patty being that it is about 4.5″ wide and about an inch tall.  I place my cookie cutter ring down on my sheet pan which is lined with freezer paper, pack in my ground chuck, lift the ring, and move onto the next one.  You are left with beautiful, perfectly formed and packed hamburger patties.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

I mean, look at those babies.  Oh, and you guys, this works perfectly with ANY type of burger you are making.  Turkey, Quinoa, Veggie…..I love my cookie cutter! It is one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen however ironically named. haha ANYWAY, stack your ground chuck perfect burgers in a single layer, cover with cling film and let them safely chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to bring on the heat.  I love kosher salt but you can use any type that your family prefers.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Once your grill is fired up and ready to rock (we like ours around 500°) bring your patties out of the fridge and salt and pepper them.  We like to salt the top side and then place the seasoned side on the grill to easily salt and pepper the other side.  Of course, you can add any other seasonings you may desire, for us it is salt and pepper in this burger.  

Ground chuck has the ability to satiate any burger loving palate; I feel we really don’t need anything else.  Besides, we have a flavor love affair happening with these babies and I think my perfect burger should taste just as described.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Like little soldiers all lined up in a row. Performing their function and doing their duty.  DON’T TOUCH THEM 🙂  please?  This is the time that I beg you not to play with your food.  Any other time I would support that 100% however when cooking protein, it really does know what to do.  No need to flip them every two minutes to “check”, these guys will show you on the outside ring when they are ready to be turned over.  We like to turn them when the color change occurs approximate 3/4 of the way up on the visible outside edge.  Once that occurs, you can safely turn them over and continue to cook until your desired temperature.

I pull them at 155° and they continue to cook while resting past the industry safe point of 160°.  But to each their own on this one.  I’m not going to tell you how to enjoy your burger as I feel this is a very personal decision. 🙂

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Look at those beauties.  Hardly any shrinkage and I can assure you, cooked through and juicy as all get out.  That is because of the beef we chose to use in these perfect burger patties. I mean a burger should be about the actual burger, right?  That’s how I feel and I think of the additional toppings, condiments and so forth as the extra freebies I get to indulge in.

Are you ready for the perfect burger toppings?

In an effort to keep this post as short as possible, I won’t get into the hidden sugar that is riddled through our food.  However, I will provide you with sugar-free condiments that will make you throw out the prepackaged ones.  Deal? Deal.

Let’s start with the ketchup.  Before I ever made my own ketchup I was a huge fan of this topping, however, the sugar is off the charts.  My first batch was :::meh::: but as I played with it…Oh, my great golly molly.  The ability to actually taste the ingredients that you consume is a beautiful thing, people.  Absolutely beautiful.

Sugar-free Ketchup

For our version of sugar-free ketchup, we used sugar-free tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, salt, celery salt and white pepper.  The olive oil and tarragon sweet potato fries we made to go with our burgers were delicious dipped in this as well. (Recipe card below)

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Sugar-free Mustard

Talk about a kick! WHOA…make your own mustard.  This stuff is amazingly zingy, tasty and rounds out the flavor of our perfect burger exceptionally well.  For our sugar-free version of mustard, we used 1/2 cup dry mustard powder, 1/2 cup filtered water, white pepper, salt, and celery salt.  If you’re not one who fancies a kick in the mouth, I would suggest leaving out the white pepper. (Recipe card below)

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

You guys…I’m going to have to come back a post my version of the sugar-free ranch mix.  I made my pantry batch so long ago and I can not find the piece of paper I scribbled on for this one!  I will add it soon though I promise 🙂  I encourage you to play around with the flavors of dill, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.  Add it to sour cream or organic buttermilk.  Or half sour cream and buttermilk.  Experience, experiment and have fun!

For our burgers, I used organic sour cream with my mix.  I wanted a thick layer of the ranch so that my cucumber and tomato relish wouldn’t fall out all over the place.

Cook ahead toppings for your perfect burger

We chose peppered bacon as one of our toppings.  I can’t stress enough how delicious bacon is when you bake it in the oven.  It’s mess free on a foil lined sheet pan, smells like love in the oven and just turns out crispy and properly cooked.  We cooked ours at 425° for about 25 minutes and then I had to hide it.  Bacon goes quickly around here and I wanted it on my burger.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Next, we opted for not just regular onions but caramelized onions.  Have you ever cooked these?  I usually cook them in a HUGE batch, overnight in the crockpot and then divide and freeze.  This way I always have them on tap when I think my recipe needs a little something.

Super quick note on caramelizing onions: Cook more than you think you need!  This little tiny pile, which when added to a measuring cup, started out at two very large white onions and was reduced to a half cup.  So, the more the merrier in my opinion.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Cucumber tomato quick pickle

I love a really good pickle on a burger.  However, with the flavor profile, I have worked in this burger I felt it may be a bit overpowering with a full dill pickle.  We chose to use half of an organic cucumber, two vine-ripened tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Just dice the veggies, add the seasoning and vinegar, stir and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I did stir them every so often as well as performed the official taste test throughout the day.  Perks of being the Chef 🙂 The combination provides the tomato you expect in a burger as well as a bit of pickle.  It was delicious and I ate the leftover with a spoon. Sorry, not sorry.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Assembling the perfect burger

Okay, are you guys ready to assemble The Gridiron?  This is how it went.

  1. Top bun: Layer of ranch dip and cucumber/tomato salsa
  2. Bottom bun: Homemade sugar-free mustard and lettuce leaf
  3. From the lettuce up:
  4. Burger
  5. cheese
  6. Hatch Green Chiles
  7. Homemade Sugar-free ketchup
  8. Caramelized onions
  9. Top bun with ranch, cucumber and tomato salsa

BOOM! The Gridiron Burger is ready to be devoured.

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Why the Gridiron?

I crafted this burger for my amazing husband.  He’s strong, loves football, works with iron, yet he also has a sweet and fiery side to him that I adore.  He loved the burger.

The best part of crafting and sharing a burger with your family is watching the facial expressions as each flavor hits them.  My daughter won this hands down.  From the big bright wide eyes of “oh my goodness, this is delicious” to the quasi-furrowed brow trying to figure out what she was tasting next and then lastly the smile immediately followed by the next bite. Yes! BURGER MAGIC.

If you want to love on the people in your house and show your guests just how much you adore them, I hope you try this perfect burger at your next get together.

Here’s wishing you an amazing summer and moments that you will never forget.

xoxo

Ovenstruck the best recipes on the web

P.S. Oh and these sweet potato fries we made on the grill….those are coming soon 🙂

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

Perfect burger, gridiron burger hatch chilies gouda cheese colby cheese peppered bacon sugar-free mustard sugar-free ketchup sugar-free ranch dressing cucumber tomato salsa perfect hamburger patty caramelized onions

A Perfect Burger – Introducing The Gridiron Burger

The perfect burger – introducing The Gridiron.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Summer Grilling
Servings: 8
Author: Oven Struck

Ingredients

  • 3.5 pounds chuck roast ground chuck
  • 1 pound peppered thick cut bacon
  • 2 large white onions – thinly sliced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 organic cucumber
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 8 slices Colby Jack Cheese
  • 8 slices Gouda cheese
  • 8 stalks red leaf lettuce
  • 1 6 oz can of Hatch green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt – divided
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • Sugar-free ketchup and mustard recipe

Instructions

Perfect Burger Patties

  • Using a cookie cutter ring, pack ground chuck into the mold and prepare each burger. Prepared burgers should be on a parchment lined sheet pans in a single layer, covered with cling film until ready to grill. Salt and pepper each burger, each side just before grilling.

Caramelized Onions

  • Preheat a heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet. Melt 1 stick butter and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Thinly slice each onion and add to your pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until sweet and brown in color. about 45 minutes.

Bacon

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and lay each piece of bacon side by side in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

Cucumber & Tomato Quick Pickled Salsa

  • Dice one cucumber and two vine-ripened tomatoes and place into an airtight container. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Burger Assembly

  • Top bun: Layer of ranch dip and cucumber/tomato salsa
  • Bottom bun: Homemade sugar-free mustard and lettuce leaf
  • From the lettuce up:
  • Burger
  • cheese
  • Hatch Green Chiles
  • Homemade Sugar-free ketchup
  • Caramelized onions
  • Top bun with ranch, cucumber and tomato salsa
  • BOOM! The Gridiron Burger is ready to be devoured.

Sugar-free Ketchup

No refined sugar added ketchup that is flavorful and good for you too.
Prep Time2 mins
Total Time2 mins
Course: Sugar Free Condiments
Servings: 1 .5 cups
Author: Oven Struck

Ingredients

  • 1 – 8 oz. can sugar-free tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup filtered water

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until well combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Best if made 3 hours ahead of use.

Sugar-free Mustard

Homemade mustard with a kick! This is a spicy one…if you want less spice, leave out the white pepper 🙂 Sugar-free.
Prep Time2 mins
Total Time2 mins
Course: Sugar Free Condiments
Author: Oven Struck

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Store in airtight container in the fridge.
  • The sauce will be runny. If too thin, add more dry mustard. It will thicken slightly upon refrigerating.
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45 Comments

  • Carly

    Oh my gosh!! Your burger looks amazing! My husband and I just got the grill out yesterday because we finally had warm weather (Ohio has the funkiest weather changes). Thanks for the tips. I cant wait to make these!

    • Oven Struck

      LOL I have a lot of family in Ohio, I completely understand! Happy grilling season! I hope you enjoy your summer 🙂

  • Robin rue

    We are BIG on burgers here! This one sounds phenomenal! I can’t wait to try one.

  • madi

    Oh my goodness my mouth is watering! I need to try this!

  • Sonja Josipovics

    Looking so good! Loveee this!
    http://www.stylequest.se/

  • Melissa Jellie

    I don’t eat red meat, but I might try this with turkey. It sounds really good!

  • Nina Paul

    What great ideas. Thanks 🙂

  • Marcie in Mommyland

    Homemade hamburgers are seriously one of my favorite summer treats! This recipe sounds so delicious!

  • Shoshana Sue

    Holy smokes! The burger is so inviting and yes like you I want mine juicy but not greasy. I will give the sugar-free ketchup recipe a go!

  • Meg

    What a great tutorial! I just learned about a year ago about not over-handling your hamburger meat both when forming the patties and when cooking. And I love your hack for forming them into perfect circles. I use my kid’s cereal bowls lined with plastic wrap, but your cookie cutter looks like an even better option. Awesome!

  • Lyndsey

    Oh goodness, this burger looks too good to eat. I love the tips you added in the post and will have to give them a try. I will be pinning this recipe so I can try it out.

  • Thomas

    This looks soooo delicious! 😀 I am hungry now! 😀

  • karen

    Yassssss! Grilling season (aka summer) is just about here! I love cooking out (well, having my hubs grill out) and enjoying some yummy burgers. Yours look so professional! I am all about your tips and toppings and cant wait to try some out soon!

  • thesocialbeing721

    This really is the perfect burger! You just made me so hungry. I am really digging the sugar free ketchup and mustard. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Mandy Carter

    These burgers look delicious. You know I love caramelized onions but I have never tried to do them at home for my burgers…going to now!

  • Terri Steffes

    I am a burger connoisseur myself and I learned a few things! My mother swears by this: she adds crushed ice to the burger mixture and cooks the patties right away. I will say she does get a juicy burger!

  • Cindy Ingalls

    This is one delicious looking burger. I like the idea of making your own mustard and ketchup. My favorite burger topping is grilled red onions.

  • Rhian Westbury

    These are my kind of burgers, big and juicy and full of taste. I love to make them myself but they’ve never turned out this good x

  • Seattle Travel Blogger

    These look like grill treats for sure!
    We love a good burger in my household – definitely one of our favorite dishes.

  • Lily @militaryfamof8

    Oh my, these pictures and recipes made my mouth water! These burgers sound delicious!

  • Amanda Love

    Wow! That is perfection and my boys will praise me for making this if ever. I really appreciate all the tips! Burgers are perfect for the summer since grilling is the cooking style of choice during this season.

  • Elizabeth O.

    I follow a vegan diet but I do cook meat for the family. I’m sure they’re going to appreciate these!

  • Holly

    Oh my goodness you take this to next level. I’d never make ketchup but my kids don’t like it anyway and I don’t put it on my burger.

  • lyd

    This looks so delicious! I love out of the ordinary burgers, this one looks so yummy. I will have to try it this summer!

  • Joscelyn

    OMG, these burgers look amazing! I like your tip about waiting on the salt and pepper…I’m going to try that next time!

  • Angela Tolsma

    I love grilling season!! I have never made my own hamburgers before, but I wouldn’t have known that about the salt, so awesome tip!!

  • Emily

    I’m sure it’s a great burger, but personally I prefer the veggie kind 😉 https://www.fijord.com

    • Oven Struck

      Thank you, Emily. I myself LOVE a good veggie burger…..one will be coming to the blog very soon! 🙂

  • Yasmin Ali

    Thanks for sharing! This looks so good, I would love to try it!

  • Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy

    My mouth is watering!! Those look so very good!

  • Mardene Carr

    I do not eat burgers but this is so well presented. I am still not going to eat it but was tempted by your beautiful presentation.

  • Brittany

    This burger looks absolutely to die for! I love a good burger recipe for the summer time! I will definitely try this one!

  • Lara

    Wow do these look good! I feel like my burger shortcuts have led mine to never turn out as good as these. These steps helped me identify some ideas for how I can improve. You’ve inspired me to try to up my burger game. I definitely want to try the homemade mustard. Curious how it compares to the squeeze bottle version (has to be better, right?)

  • Jennifer Pilgrim

    5 stars
    After those mouth-watering pictures, I want to turn on the oven now. Thank you so much for a good, hardy recipe for a yummy burger.

  • Amber Nelson

    That looks so amazing! I love myself a good burger and this looks right up my alley!

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