Sink Your Teeth Into Burgers Made for Grilling Season

Ground beef burgers are a menu staple. Some simple new recipes can keep this popular, easy-to-execute fixture from slipping into the shadows on your menu.

Everyone looks forward to grilling season and the promise of that sizzling summer favourite, the burger. Glowing coals, smoky flavour, juicy beef patties, melty cheese, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and hearty buns … Hungry yet?

There’s no reason for limiting the grilling season to just a few months. Flame-cooked food in the summertime is natural. But burgers never go out of fashion, so the char-grilled flavour is desirable any time of year. 

Everyone knows that consumers flip for a great burger. With that in mind, Gordon Food Service and Certified Angus Beef have teamed up for a tasty assignment: develop burger recipes that make your operation stand out.

The simple beef hamburger is the second most popular item on Canadian restaurant menus, topped only by the most common of burger side dishes, french fries. Technomic reports that 89% of Canadian consumers eat burgers once a month or more often.

The same report shows cravings are the main driver for restaurant burger purchases, along with the perception that burgers are a good value, especially as part of a combo offering, such as fries or onion rings. The quality of a burger is important to 82% of consumers, and more than half of consumers enjoy being able to customize their toppings or indulge in innovative preparations.

Your Next Burger Starts Here

Burgers are a familiar food, and the best burgers get special attention. Ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin are versatile and flavourful on their own. When used to craft a signature burger, they turn popular comfort food into culinary artistry. 

We asked the Certified Angus Beef experts to provide examples, and they came up with eight recipes – from classic burgers to gourmet sandwiches – sure to attract attention and make the most of the grilling opportunity. Some are simple, and all are simply sensational, stacked with crave-worthy extras sure to deliver the message, “If you build it, they will come.”

The Classic Smash Burger

Why they’ll love it: This ultra-thin, double patty burger is made on a griddle over an open flame. It delivers the nostalgia of a diner burger, only better. Not only does it use fresh, high-quality ingredients, the special sauce puts it over the top. 

Why it’s special: Here’s a hint … “special” sauce. It’s a mix of grated onions, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Ping-pong ball-sized spheres of lean (80/20) ground beef are flattened as thinly as possible on the griddle. Serve as a double burger with cheese and other toppings on a butter-toasted bun to add to the experience.

French Onion Burger

Why they’ll love it: It’s two comfort foods in one – Classic French onion soup and a thick, juicy burger. Onions are a burger-topping favourite, but guests have never had one like this. Perfectly seasoned beef, caramelized onions, and Gruyere cheese bring French bistro flavour to the menu.

What makes it special: French thyme, mayonnaise, caramelized onions, brandy, Gruyere cheese, brioche … Ooh la la, French indeed. Ground beef is gently blended with diced fresh thyme leaves and shallots. Formed into 6 oz. patties, the burgers sear in a cast iron pan to develop a char. They’re topped with soft, sweet onions and a generous amount of grated Gruyere. It’s all served on a browned, mayo-brushed brioche bun.

Fig & Brie Burger

Why they’ll love it: Fig jam makes the leap from the charcuterie board to burger bun as a condiment for an impeccable dish. The mild flavour and pudding-like texture of Brie cheese make every bite worth savouring. 

Why it’s special: The secret is the grill. Flame-kissed burgers, gooey Brie, and caramelized red onions bring out the umami and may change the way people think about burgers. It starts with lean (80/20) ground beef, divided into four 6 oz. patties. The beef is charred on one side before flipping and adding thin slabs of cheese for melting. Meanwhile, whole onion slices caramelize right on the grill. Buns get toasted on the grates as well, then spread with a generous amount of sweet jam, topped with onion and the Brie-coated burger. Simple prep, simple ingredients; sensational burger.

Oklahoma Onion Burger

Why they’ll love it: This burger comes with a story. When times were tough in The Great Plains, settlers had to make their beef go further, so they invented a smashburger pressed with onions to bulk it up, then seasoned with an all-purpose spice blend. The juicy burger is right for any kind of condiments, so you can offer a signature burger.

Why it’s special: This pro-calibre burger is simple to execute and rich inflavour. The trick is to shave the onions as thinly as possible on a mandoline. Take a 4 oz. ball of meat and place it on a hot griddle set over coals. Add a large pile of shaved onions atop each ball, then press everything together with a spatula. While cooking the first side, add the seasoning mixture (onion and garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper). Top with American cheese before serving on a warmed bun dressed with your favourite condiments.

Juicy Lucy Burger

Why they’ll love it: This burger packs cheese on the inside and is the stuff of legends. The story goes that this one was invented by a Minnesota bar and given its iconic name. To call it just a cheeseburger only means you’ve never really had a Juicy Lucy.

Why it’s special: The cheese. On the inside. Surprise! The ground beef is gently hand-blended with chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, then formed into 3 oz. spheres. Each sphere is pressed thin, and four of the patties are filled with American cheese, topped with the second patty, and pinched together to seal in the cheese. Once cooked, allow the burgers to sit a moment before serving to make sure the cheese isn’t lava hot. Top as desired (red onion slices, iceberg lettuce, and pickles are traditional) and invite people to bite into a legend.

Pastrami Burger

Why they’ll love it: This is a combo of two beefy favourites, the deli-style pastrami sandwich and the classic cheeseburger. Four layers of goodness – coleslaw, burger, cheese, pastrami – all packed inside a toasted bun. Step aside, bacon cheeseburger. The pastrami burger is here to stay. 

Why it’s special: Can you say beef bonanza? Crisped pastrami sitting atop a Swiss cheeseburger won’t leave any room for guests to ask, “Where’s the beef!” It starts with a simple slaw made using mayo, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, and a shredded cabbage mix. Make this ahead to get the perfect deli slaw flavour. Lean (80/20) ground beef is formed into 6 oz burgers and cooked on a griddle heated by open flames. Cook the sliced pastrami at the same time to crisp it a bit without drying it out. Add slices of Swiss cheese to the burgers to melt, then top with pastrami and serve on toasted buns with a ramekin of whole-grain brown mustard.

Old School Diner Sliders

Why they’ll love it: These burgers are held over by popular demand from your childhood memories. Mini burgers, grilled yellow onions, and melted American cheese served on sweet Hawaiian rolls. Bite-sized burgers, outsized flavour.

Why it’s special: Made by the dozen, the process and the presentation are throwbacks to beloved burger shacks of the past. The process starts by slicing an intact package of Hawaiian rolls in half, crosswise, buttering, and grilling until browned. The ground beef is divided into 12 loosely formed balls of 2 oz. each. Medium-diced onions are placed on a griddle, forming a rectangle about the size of the still-connected buns. Press the burgers into the onions to create a tightly formed rectangle. While cooking, add a base of mayo and lettuce to the buns. Flip the burgers, add American cheese and, once melted, lift the burgers and place them on the sheet of halved buns, add the tops, then slice. Old school never felt so cool.

Prosciutto & Blue Cheese Burger

Why they’ll love it: This hearty pub-style sandwich is poised to become a menu favourite, featuring ingredients that give burgers an elevated European twist.

Why it’s special: This is the bacon cheeseburger no one saw coming. Make a simple glaze by warming balsamic vinegar and brown sugar on the stovetop until it thickens. In the meantime, chop the thin slices of salt-cured prosciutto and crisp them a bit in a cast iron skillet. Form thick, 6 oz ground beef patties and season with salt and pepper before searing them on cast iron. After flipping and finishing the burgers, place them on the bun and top with crumbled blue cheese, peppery arugula, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and a small pile of crispy prosciutto.

Simple Ingredients Mean Crave-Worthy Burgers

The secret to all of these burgers is top-quality Certified Angus Beef. With the right amount of marbling, each patty becomes a craveable, juicy part of the perfect sandwich. Burger purists will remind you that less is more. Simple ingredients and familiar toppings should enhance the beef flavour.

George Motz, restaurant owner and author of “The Great American Burger Book,” believes onions bring out the best in burgers, and most recipes include them. He thinks ketchup is best left to the fries, as its sweetness masks the grilled goodness. 

Yet there are no rules when it comes to crafting and populating the next burger favourite. Top them with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickles, mayo, avocado slices, jalapenos, a fried egg, french fries, or whatever ingredients are ideal for your customer base.

These recipes and your inspiration are all it takes to turn grilling season into something special. If you’re looking for more burger ideas or want to select ingredients for your next masterpiece, you can call on your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative to help. 

Discover the exceptional quality of Certified Angus Beef by exploring more here. Ready to elevate your culinary creations? Browse our delicious Certified Angus Beef selections from these inspiring recipes here. Not a customer yet? Joining us is simple! Click here to sign up and take your dishes to the next level today!

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