These are the BEST Burgers! Made with a mix of ground beef and ground pork, caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, chili powder and MORE that makes them so much more flavorful than other burgers!
I know what you’re thinking.
I sure do make a lot of promises I could never keep. I make “the best” this and “the best” that, but how could I really know? Have I tried them all?
No. No I haven’t.
But I have tried quite a few, and we are burger people, so I feel like I know what I’m talking about.
I’ve never eaten another burger that packs in this much flavor!
So I was watching The Pioneer Woman at the end of last summer, and she was making “the best burgers”. She said the secret to the best burgers was to put a frozen cube of butter in the middle of the meat! She also added caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar.
I made some notes so I could try to make these incredible burgers the next Spring (now!). And I did.
And you know what? They totally failed. The butter thing is really weird. It just becomes a melted puddle of butter in the middle of the burger. It makes the burgers break open and fall apart. But my husband said the flavor was good and not to change anything about that.
And since I wanted to make these for my husband for Father’s Day, he gets the last say.
I kept the caramelized onion and balsamic ideas from The Pioneer Woman, but I added my own flavors and I really think these are BETTER than your average burger.
Caramelizing things adds flavor, we all know this! But how often do we see cooked onions, garlic, spices added to burgers? I had never seen it before.
Toasting the garlic and spices with the onions before adding it to the burgers is key — it wakes them up and brings out the flavors so much more intensely!
Be sure to brush with your favorite barbecue sauce (if desired) and top them as you like: cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, mustard, relish — whatever suits your fancy! For me? I’m a plain Jane: just ketchup and pickles!
How to shape burger patties:
There are lots of different ways to shape burger patties, including small kitchen tools that do the work for you!
These are great if you want uniform patties, but my kitchen is already loaded with knick knacks I don’t use, so I’d rather not add another to the mix!
The easiest way to get uniform burgers is to smooth your burger mix in the bowl so it is flat on top.
Then use your hands to draw a line in the burger mix to mark a half, then the other way to mark a quarter. Then divide each quarter in half to make 8 even burgers.
You want your burgers to hold together, but you also don’t want to overwork them so that they become tough.
I like to make mine a little thicker at the edges and a little thinner through the middle, since the edges will cook more quickly and this way my burgers are perfectly cooked and juicy all the way through.
How to store burger patties:
When I’m going through the effort of making homemade burgers, I almost always make extra so I can freeze some.
I like to flash freeze so I can grab just one or two from the freezer if I need.
To do this, lay your burger patties on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Then place your frozen burger patties in a large freezer bag and store in the freezer.
This way, you can easily grab however many you need without having them stuck together.
Variations on this burger recipe:
- If you’re looking to make these gluten free, try subbing the bread crumbs for gluten free bread crumbs, or finely crushed gluten free potato or tortilla chips.
- Don’t have red onion? Any onion will do! I like to use sweet onions for the best flavor.
- Swap the butter for oil for a dairy free burger.
- Swap out the ground pork for Italian sausage for an extra kick!
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The Best Burgers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb lean ground pork
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup fine seasoned bread crumbs see above for gluten free options
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- Barbecue sauce for basting and toppings as desired
- In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat and add onions, stirring until coated. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, until tender and translucent.
- Add brown sugar and continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes, until caramelized.
- Add garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat 1 minute. Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until room temperature (if you’re making this ahead, be sure to cover the dish after the onions have cooled to store for longer periods of time).
- In a large bowl, combine pork, beef, egg, bread crumbs, vinegar worcestershire sauce and cooled onion mixture and mix just until combined — don’t overmix.
- Shape into 8 patties for ¼ pound burgers (feel free to make them bigger or smaller according to your preferences).
- *Recommended: place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. You can also place in the freezer for 2-3 hours. This isn’t necessary but really helps the flavors meld together and helps the burgers stay together when cooked.
- In a pan or on a grill, cook burgers for about 4-5 minutes per side on medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Serve as desired with buns, garnishes, sauces, etc.
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