If you are one of those people whose ideal is a simple burger with a perfectly griddled thin patty, a smear of mayo, one single leaf of iceberg lettuce and a squishy potato bun, this post is not for you. While I love a classic, sometimes I’m craving a towering, over-the-top burger with all of the fixings. We’re talking crunchy, spicy, drippy, monster burgers that you will dream about long after summer is over. Whether you like to double up on the meat, make your own burger grind, slather on a secret sauce or are a vegetarian craving something decadent (hey, vegetarians deserve epic burgers, too), then I have something for you. Here are 7 of my favorite, show-stopping burgers to grill up this summer.
This double-burger from Food & Wine Magazine and chef Wesley Genovart is inspired by the popular Shake Shack burger, but this one is layered with thick-cut grilled bacon, a spicy Thai chili paste mayo and tangy kimchi. Even if you’re not a fan of American cheese, you’ll admire how perfectly the cheese melts onto these crispy thin burger patties.
Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers
I love this genius recipe from the quirky blog Nerds with Knives. They combine ground lamb with a blend of East Asian spices like cumin and Sichuan peppercorns (for tingly heat) and a bit of mustard and sesame oil for moisture. The patties are smashed and griddled for maximum crispy edges and then sandwiched with an herby yogurt sauce that is a cooling accompaniment to the spiced lamb. If you’re looking for a change from a classic beef burger, I highly recommend giving this one a try.
This sloppy, but oh-so-good burger from Jamie Oliver involves brushing the patty with a mixture of mustard and hot sauce for maximum flavor and crispy sides. He also makes a sauce with mayo, ketchup, chipotle pepper hot sauce and sliced iceberg lettuce for a creamy, but slightly crunchy topping.
Buffalo-Blue Curly Fry Black Bean Burger
Don’t worry, vegetarians, I have something for you, too. This veggie burger from Half Baked Harvest stays moist on the inside (with the added help of the blue cheese filling), gets crispy on the outside and miraculously holds its shape when you bite into it. For topping, she makes a silky buffalo cheese sauce and homemade baked curly fries, but you can easily substitute with frozen fries.
Smoky Maple & Sage Breakfast Pork Burger
For those burger lovers amongst us who dream of having one for every meal, I have a breakfast burger that is fit for a champion. From the adorable blog Jelly Toast, this pork burger tastes like a hulking breakfast sausage, but with a kiss of smoke from the grill. It’s topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheese, a generous drizzle of maple syrup and sandwiched between waffles that also get a toasty char from the grill. If you’re feeling motivated, you can make your own waffles, but your favorite frozen variety will do just fine here.
Bobby’s Crunch Burger
Leave it to Bobby Flay and Bon Appetit Magazine to give you a genius new way to cook your burger patties. After searing in a skillet and getting a deep brown crust, Flay suggests adding a few tablespoons of water to the pan to let the burgers steam slightly until medium rare. The result is a perfectly cooked burger with a juicy inside and a nice crust on the outside. If you want to do this on your grill, just throw a cast iron skillet right on the grate. To finish his monster burger, Bobby Flay layers on a quick cabbage slaw, crunchy potato chips and an amped up ketchup with a bit of spicy canned chipotle chilies in adobo.
Vietnamese-Style Banh Mi Burger
These fun oblong burgers from chef Joanne Chang and Food & Wine Magazine are scented with a bit of curry powder and served on a crackly baguette with all of your favorite banh mi toppings like pickled carrots, a handful of fresh cilantro and a spicy chili mayo. I like to take the patties off the grill and let them rest on the bottom half of the baguette so all of the meat’s juices soak into the bread and mix with the generous smear of spiked mayo.