Building better burgers: you can grill a great burger using beef, but why stop there?

By Joe Bonwich

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (colored portion of peel)

4 hamburger buns

1. Make the slaw. In a small bowl, mix together wasabi powder and water, forming a paste. Add mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic; stir until well combined.

2. Place cabbage in a medium bowl. Add wasabi mayonnaise and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Make the burgers. Place tuna in a food processor and chop until coarsely ground. Do not overprocess: The tuna should be minced but not pureed, similar to the texture of ground beef. Transfer the tuna to a large bowl.

4. Add mustard, garlic, shallots, 1 tablespoon ginger and lemon zest; gently stir to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions. Being careful not to overwork or compact the meat too much, pat each portion into a patty about ¾-inch thick. Cover; refrigerate for at least an hour or as long as overnight.

5. Preheat a clean grill to medium-high for 8 to 10 minutes with the lid closed. Open the grill and lightly brush the grates with vegetable oil.

6. Place the burgers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until the desired temperature is reached, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place the buns, cut-side down, on the grill and cook until lightly toasted.

7. To serve, place each burger on the bottom half of a bun and top with wasabi slaw. Add bun tops and serve immediately.

Per serving: 500 calories; 30g fat; 5g saturated fat; 55mg cholesterol; 31g protein; 27g carbohydrate; 3g sugar; 2g fiber; 590mg sodium; 95mg calcium.

— Adapted from "Simply Grilling," by Jennifer Chandler

(Thomas Nelson, 2012)


Yield: 4 servings

1 egg

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced shallot


Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground bison

4 hamburger buns

1. Preheat a grill for direct heat.

2. Combine egg and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl; beat with a fork until well combined. Stir in shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Add bison; with your hands, mix gently but well. Form into four patties. Season again with salt and pepper.

3. Brush oil on the grill grate. Cook burgers over direct heat 4 to 6 minutes per side. If desired, rotate the burgers 90 degrees halfway through cooking each side for an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. Cook until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 125 degrees for rare, 135 degrees for medium-rare or 145 degrees for medium. Cooking beyond medium is not recommended as bison can dry out easily.

4. Place each patty on a bun, garnish as desired and serve.

Per serving: 330 calories; 17g fat; 7g saturated fat; 115mg cholesterol; 22g protein; 22g carbohydrate; 3g sugar; 1g fiber; 370mg sodium; 75mg calcium.


Yield: 6 servings

1 slice whole-wheat bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons milk

1¼ pounds ground turkey breast

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Ground black pepper

2 ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

¼ cup minced fresh basil


3 tablespoons shredded low-fat mozzarella

3 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted

1. Tear bread into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Pour milk over bread, stir to coat well and allow to stand 10 minutes, stirring and mashing bread frequently until the mixture is almost smooth. Add ground turkey, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 6 patties.

2. Mix together tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

3. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn down. Lightly oil grill grate or spray with nonstick spray.

4. Grill patties about 5 to 6 minutes per side or until lightly browned and internal temperatures registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Sprinkle each with 1 <0x00BD> teaspoons shredded mozzarella cheese and allow to melt.

5. Place one patty, cheese side up, on each English muffin half. Spoon tomato mixture generously over the top of each patty.

Per serving: 235 calories; 8g fat; 6g saturated fat; 57mg cholesterol; 24g protein; 18g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 318mg sodium.

— Recipe developed for The Kansas City Star

Dist. by MCT Information Services