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My Family’s Classic Burger

July 23, 2010

Over the last month, I feel like I’ve departed from my normal eating habits.  It wasn’t a conscious decision but rather more a shift resulting from our recent activities.  Since the 4th of July, we’ve traveled, had kids in our home and now we have friends visiting for a week.  From all this hustle and bustle has come the need to prepare easy meals and also to cater to our guests’ food wants.

I hasten to add that everything leading up to today has all been fun and I wouldn’t change a thing, but this revelation came to me as I dug into my third cheeseburger in as many weeks.  While this may not seem like a lot to some, for me this is record-breaking.  I typically eat a burger two, maybe three times a year.  Beef dishes are not part of my regular rotation at home (as much as I love them), mainly so I can manage our cholesterol intake.  Never mind that since I’ve started this blog, eggs and butter have had the highest turnover rate in my refrigerator.

But how could you deny yourself a good burger?  When done right, they’re just plain delicious.  The crisp grill marks on the outside hiding the juicy, still partially red, meaty goodness inside is just perfect for me.  And I enjoy burgers with various accompaniments:  Gorgonzola cheese, sautéed mushrooms and/or onions, bacon.  More often, though, I prefer mine prepared the way my mother always made them when I was growing up:  Simple with the traditional fixings of mayo, ketchup, sometimes mustard, sometimes pickles, but always with tomato, onion and cheese.  A lightly toasted bun tops off a great burger that I can polish off in no time.

I love the way my mother prepares her meat mixture and I realize that it’s probably the way your mother prepares hers, too.  Could it be why I like it so much?  As I get older I find myself more drawn to the simple flavors I grew up with.  My mother’s cooking was no-frills but always hit a home run with the family.  Please note that even though I refer to her cooking in the past tense, she’s still alive and well.  It’s just that after her three girls left home to be on their own, my mother passed the cooking torch to my father who happily accepted it (our taste buds are not complaining either).  Now my mother cooks mainly to delight the family (extended family included) by making everyone’s special requests.

The stars of my mother’s burger recipe are Worcestershire sauce and chopped onions.  The Worcestershire sauce adds the proper zing to the meat and I think the onions lend to a juicier burger.  She also adds bread crumbs and egg to bind the mixture together.  It’s a classic preparation, right?  Why mess with good thing, I say.

Now if I could only learn not to overestimate food quantities.  I bought enough beef to make 20 1-cup size patties for a small gathering.  I still have enough patties in the freezer for another occasion.  I’ve filled my yearly burger quota, for sure!

Note:  Food52 is having a contest this week for “Your Best Beef Burger”.  There are several unique and delicious-sounding submissions but I couldn’t resist submitting my version of the classic.  I’ve been wanting to enter one of their contests for sometime now and this week the stars aligned.  Check out the recipes for this week’s contest, including one from my foodie friend, Sippity Sup.

My Mother’s Classic Burger

  • About 4 pounds ground beef (good for at least 8 or more large burgers)
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • A few stems chopped chives, optional
  • Several dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Few tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Accompaniments:  Hamburger Buns, tomato slices, onion slices, ketchup, mayo, mustard, sharp cheddar cheese slices

Mix the top seven ingredients in a large bowl.  Shape meat mixture into patties.  I use a measuring cup to help me.  A one-cup measuring cup will make a substantial burger.  Grill according to desired doneness and assemble with your favorite accompaniments.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 11:55 AM

    So tasty! I also like to use Worcestershire sauce in my Chinese marinade, gives it a nice kick and really smooth with toasted sesame oil. Good Luck on the contest!
    Thank you,

  2. July 23, 2010 12:17 PM

    There is nothing better than “what mom used to make” I think we all have those wonderful meals that take you back. Thank you for this it is very similar to our families burgers.

  3. July 23, 2010 1:14 PM

    Yes! My mom makes her burgers the exact same way. Even though I now eat a much more exciting array of recipes and entrees, I still miss my mom’s simple yet delicious cooking. Thank you for reminding me how much I appreciate her and all that she has done for us girls. Your mom sounds like a pretty great woman too!

  4. July 23, 2010 2:02 PM

    Love the idea of using a measuring cup! Thanks for sharing your post.

  5. polwig permalink
    July 23, 2010 2:57 PM

    I am so not good with burgers and have been wanting to experiment with them a bit. Usually grilling is the day when I take the day off cooking and my husband takes charge. This looks really good so maybe I will make the meat like you do.

  6. July 23, 2010 5:42 PM

    now thats a great burger!! it makes me wish I still ate beef……..mine are chicken or turkey these days.

  7. July 23, 2010 7:13 PM

    I am not a big burger fan.. although do enjoy a bit or two of my husbands from time to time… but this looks so good. I guess I need a fix. I love your picture with all the “players” ready to be put on the burger. Thanks for a great post.

  8. July 23, 2010 9:18 PM

    I love this classic burger. I made Japanese hamburger not to long ago (always behind on my posts) and our mom’s hamburger recipes are identical, minus the worcestershire. I don’t think my mom even knows what that is. 🙂

  9. July 24, 2010 1:23 AM

    Mums’ recipes are always the best, yes? I’m a huge burger fan and I prefer my burger to be as simple as possible so that I can taste the beefy goodness. This recipe definitely fits the bill 😀

    Thanks for sharing your mum’s recipe. 🙂

  10. July 24, 2010 8:15 AM

    Mom’s recipes are always the best ! This is similar to my mom’s recipe and to what I make as well. There are some things like burgers that just need to be left as is. From what you have been posting this week, your guests are very lucky !

  11. July 24, 2010 10:00 AM

    Nothing beats a good grilled hamburger, perfect for outdoor summer family meals, something everybody enjoys. Love the photo of the burger, looks so ready to be eaten!

  12. July 24, 2010 11:16 AM

    oooh yes. the wonderful addition of Worcestershire Sauce.. no burger is complete with out this addition. Since our family vacation in June, our diet has really shifted as well.. eating a lot of things that wouldn’t normally be on our menu at home. Enjoy your burger!

  13. July 24, 2010 11:40 AM

    Hi Jean! Your mom’s burger recipe is very similar to the one my mom used to make too. The Worcestershire sauce is the secret magic, and I sometimes sneak in soy sauce in mine, too. I chuckled when I read your bit about butter and eggs – our consumption of both have increased dramatically, too, since I started this blog.

    Good luck with food52 this week! I’m going to run over and check out the entries!

    • July 25, 2010 10:50 AM

      Oh, Liren. I bet the addition of soy sauce would be good, too. That’s a really good idea.

      Yes, about the eggs and butter…I just tell myself that the tarts/crostatas I make are shared so the per person consumption is not that bad (I hope)!

  14. July 24, 2010 5:57 PM

    You are making me so hungry! Homemade burgers are just the best!!! My Mom would add the mustard and ketchup to the beef and mix together along with some fine chopped onions then form the burger. It was so incrediby tasty! Enjoy your weekend!!

    • July 25, 2010 10:52 AM

      Lisa, I’ve never thought to add the ketchup and mustard right into the mixture but I bet it works. I like to add mustard to some marinades so why not in the burger? Thanks for the idea!

  15. July 25, 2010 10:21 AM

    Yumm! I never make burgers but this one makes me crave one now!

  16. July 25, 2010 10:50 AM

    looks great! very tasty!

  17. July 25, 2010 6:24 PM

    There is absolutely NOTHING like a simple grilled burger. Yours looks good enough to dive into the screen and eat!

  18. July 26, 2010 2:54 PM

    Wow, great job here. Awesome picture too! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Juiciest Burger Contest – – It looks delicious!


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