This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new “Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley
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There is something to be said about summertime grilling. The warmth, the smoky grill, good company, delicious food — mmmmm! And you can’t go through a summer without grilling hamburgers at least once. I love eating a freshly grilled burger, while outside chatting with family and/or friends, chatting the evening away. It’s the best!
I have been playing with the idea lately, of putting a new spin on the old tried and true beef hamburger. However, I wanted a REALLY juicy burger. One that doesn’t inevitably dry out while on the grill. I also wanted to do something different than the same old recipe we’ve all tried a hundred times — so I thought of putting an Italian twist on it.
Soooooo, my brain got thinking. I love pesto and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and well, lots of cheese. So, I put a little of this together with a little of that — and you know what? It turned out delicious!!! Even my teenage nephews and young nieces up here in Alaska gobbled them right up. In fact, we all decided it was the BEST homemade hamburger we’d every tried. (Phew! Sometimes an idea can truly bomb…and I’ve had my share of experimental bombs.) This is SO not the case here. These are definitely a crowd pleaser.
If you only have one burger this summer, this is the one to have. This burger turned out to be so incredibly juicy and let me tell you…….the secret is adding a layer of ground sausage to your patty.
It is THE deal breaker.
But add some grilled mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and some creamy pesto sauce…..that’s it. You’re in juicy-Italian-inspired-hamburger-heaven. (I’m sure there’s a place!)
***You can kind of see that the patty has two layers…..one is a hamburger layer and the thinner layer is the sausage layer. I’m serious — it makes that entire patty magical!***
And in my case, I didn’t have any gluten free buns on hand. So I gave the ol’ stand-by lettuce wrap version a try — and it was just as incredibly delicious!!!
I couldn’t even keep my 5-yr-old niece’s fingers out of the creamy pesto sauce while trying to take pictures. Little turkey! No joke…….everyone will love this!
And I kinda forgot until now, but the #1 grilling day is coming right up — the 4th of July!!
You will make many bellies really happy if you serve these on Friday!
Go on…..give them a try! :)
OK let’s not delay it any longer and get this going…
Shopping List (makes 10 burgers)
With a little butter, sautee the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic on medium high heat. Add salt/pepper (to taste), grape juice concentrate, and 1TBS of water. Set aside.
Now, the secret to making your patties —
With 2 lbs of ground beef, divide it into 10 balls. More specifically, weigh them to 3 1/4 ounce each. (I love my kitchen scale…I highly recommend picking one up.) Grab your ground sausage and divide it out into 1 1/4 ounce balls. (If you are using the 1 lb tube of ground sausage it will make 12 with a tad extra left over.) Grab a beef ball and form it into a 4- inch disk. Grab a sausage ball and form it into a 4 inch disk as well. The sausage will be a much thinner disk. Sandwich the sausage and beef disk together.
Just press them together. Also, make sure that the center of your patty is a bit thinner than the outside of the disk. This will help the burger stay flat instead of turning into rounded burger-balls. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the beef side of the patty only. The sausage side is already well seasoned.
Place the patties beef side down on the grill. Make sure the grill is really hot and it sizzles when it is first placed on the grill. A good rule of thumb is to heat up your grill until the temp gauge on your grill reads between 400-500 degrees Farenheit. Tip: Don’t press the patties into the grill and don’t flip them more than once. Doing so will make them dry. Flip them when you see a good char forming underneath.
When you have flipped the patty sausage side down on the grill, place a spoonful of the sauteed mushrooms on the cooked side of the patty. Then place a dollop of the pesto-mayo and spread it carefully over the mushrooms and finally top with a slice of provolone cheese. While the cheese is melting, let the patty finish cooking. Covering the toppings with the cheese and then melting it locks the toppings right to the burger. They don’t slip or fall off. Perfect!
(I took the front burger off the grill to show you better what it looks like before you top it with the cheese. The finished burger is shown in the background…..and was melted on the actual grill.)
Now, lightly toast your buns on the grill and then build your burger — the patty, sliced tomatoes and lettuce. And add a dollop of the pesto mayo to your plate, in case you want a little more!
Or if you are gluten free like me, take a few lettuce leaves and wrap them around the patty and tomatoes and call it good. I find that the best lettuce to wrap your burger with is iceburg lettuce. It is the strongest and keeps all the yummy juices in without loosing half of your sandwich.
Now get grillin’!
Italian Style Grilled Hamburgers — Recipe Card
makes 10 burgers
Sautee the mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic in a little butter on medium high heat. When the mushrooms are soft, add add the grape juice concentrate and 1 TBS of water until the liquid evaporates. Set aside. Mix together the mayonnaise and pesto sauce in a small bowl. Set aside. Divide the beef into 10 4-inch patties (3.25 oz.) Divide the sausage into 10 4-inch patties (1.25 oz.) Sandwich a beef patty with a sausage patty. Salt and pepper the beef side of the patty. Place patties beef side down on a pre-heated grill (400-500 degrees). When the under side is well charred, flip over. While the second side is cooking, place a spoonful of sauteed mushroom mixture on top and then spread a dallop of the pesto mixture evenly. Top with a slice of Provolone cheese and allow to melt. Remove from grill and let rest for 1 minute. Lightly toast the buns on the grill if desired. Place patty on bun and top with tomatoes and lettuce. Enjoy!