13 Ways to Upgrade a Burger

Spicy 50/50 Burgers Photo © John Kernick
By Kristin Donnelly Posted July 05, 2015

When will the chef love affair with the burger stop? If we’re lucky, never.

When will the chef love affair with the burger stop? If we’re lucky, never.

1. Bacon-Cheddar-Russian Dressing
French chef Laurent Tourondel loves creating incredible versions of American classics, like this stellar burger.

2. Custom Beef Blend-Creamy Cheese 
Star chef Tyler Florence blends ground prime rib, brisket, skirt steak and tenderloin for his ideal burger and tops it off with bacon, lemony mayo and triple cream cheese. (Brie works well, too).

3. Peanut Sauce-Cheddar
You’ll want to double Bobby Flay’s recipe for smoky, spicy peanut sauce—it’s fantastic with burgers and steak and you can keep in in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

4. Green Chile-Fried Egg-Blue Cheese
The deeply flavorful chile relish on chef and restaurateur Tim Goodell’s excellent egg-topped burger requires just two ingredients—green chiles and garlic—and a few minutes to roast them.

5. Colelaw-Cheddar-Stuffed
Washington, DC, chef Kyle Bailey hides grated cheese inside his burgers and tops them with vinegary pickled cabbage before serving.

6. Nacho-Cheese-Smoky-Salsa
Bobby Flay strikes again. This gooey tortilla-chip-topped burger is an F&W staff fave.

7. Umami-Port-Blue-Cheese
Yes, this burger contains the Umami Burger special seasoning along with two grown-up toppings: Reduced port and stilton.

8. Bacon-Scallion-Cheddar
Chef Suvir Saran blends diced bacon and cheddar into his maximalist burger blend and then tops the patties with a spicy yogurt sauce.

9. Double-Decker with Bacon and Kimchi
Sambal mayo is the condiment of choice for Vermont chef Wesley Genovart’s over-the-top burger.

10. Banh-Mi-Style
Boston chef Joanne Chang makes oval burger patties so she can serve them on a baguette with spicy mayo, pickles and cilantro, like the Vietnamese sandwich.

11. Smoked Cheese-Barbecue-Sauce-Spicy-Onions
How does a barbecue master do a burger? Just like this.

12. Sausage-Cilantro-Pickled Peppers
Chef Michael Symon has a genius way to season his burgers: Mix in sausage meat.

13. Meatloaf-Inspired
Chef Jamie Bissonette’s burgers combine cheese, pickles and onions along with other meatloaf ingredients. He then tops the patties with a quick doctored ketchup sauce.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Terrific Burger Recipes
F&W Favorite Burger Recipes
Best Veggie Burger Recipes

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