Add-ins catapult basic burger to new heights

Lee Svitak Dean
Minneapolis Star Tribune

I stumbled on to these burgers at Whole Foods Market last summer, after a long day of staring at a computer.

I rarely succumb to pre-made meat dishes because I know I can make them at home — where it would be fresher and, I’m sure, better.

And, really, a hamburger patty? How tough is that to make?

But there it was in the meat case, with bits of jalapeno, bacon and cheddar, calling my name. And I was on my way home, tired and hungry, and let’s face it, vulnerable in the food department.

So I bought the burger. In fact, I bought several because I had family coming to dinner. Then I purchased the brioche buns on the stand nearby, because who doesn’t want a better bun for a burger? (There’s a reason product placement works.)

Once these burgers were slapped on the grill, then devoured, I knew this was my new go-to burger. Next time around, I bought ground beef, then doctored it up myself, after a quick look online to see if I had left out any critical ingredients.

To test out these burgers, I turned to those same hungry family members who had wolfed down the earlier version.

“These are even better,” they mumbled with their mouths full.

Burger after burger, I made these all summer long. Occasionally I would walk past the meat counter to see if the pre-made versions were still there, but I never saw them again.

No matter. Now I make these burgers at home. But I buy those brioche buns at the store.

Cowboy Burgers

Add more or less cheese, jalapenos and onion, as you prefer. For more heat, use serrano peppers. Bonus points if you toast the bun! Adapted from Whole Foods Market. Makes 4.

4 to 6 slices bacon, diced

1 pound ground beef

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded, deveined and diced, with a few whole slices for garnish

1/4 cup minced onion

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


4 hamburger buns

Cook bacon and cool. Gently combine ground beef with bacon, cheese, diced jalapenos, onion, salt and pepper. Gently form meat mixture into 4 patties. Butter the cut side of buns.

Over direct heat with a hot grill, toast buns lightly (either directly on rack or on a grill pan). Remove and add burgers; cook until desired doneness. Serve on buns, garnished with jalapeno slices.

Nutrition information per serving: 465 calories, 28 g fat, 510 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates, 13 g saturated fat, 3 g total sugars, 30 g protein, 110 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber

Exchanges per serving: 11/2 starch, 4 medium-fat protein, 11/2 fat.