Barbecue Burgers

Happy Birthday, Ryan! It has been my absolute privilege to share the last five birthdays with you, and I look forward to many, many more. I won’t get too mushy here, but I do hope you know how lucky I feel to have you in my life, even if you are old ;) Now then, no birthday tribute would be complete without a couple of embarrassing photos:

First, this is probably one of my absolute favorite pictures of all time. Have you seen a cuter kid or Halloween costume?! I mean, seriously, I hope our future kids have those chubby little cheeks so I can just pinch them and tell them how their dad had the same cheeks as a baby.

halloween 1982

And, this one, from a Halloween party a couple years ago, proves that no matter how old you get, some things just never change.

halloween 2005

My family’s birthday celebration tradition is to all get together and go out to eat, and the birthday person gets to choose where we go. For Ryan’s birthday, I gave him the same option, but he requested that I make him my version of Rachael Ray’s Barbecue Burgers. I first made them a couple years ago, and they have been his most requested recipe ever since. In fact, I think they may be the burger that turned him on to burgers in general.

I have probably made them a dozen or more times. I have grilled them, broiled them, cooked them in the grill pan, and even cooked them on the George Foreman grill. They work best in my parents’ broiler, something I haven’t been able to replicate at our apartment, but even if they end up a bit crumbly or broken as they did the last time I made them, they are delicious. They have a sweet-smokiness and just the right punch of heat which is exactly what I expect when I think of barbecue anything. Ryan always eats his with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, but they are just as good on their own. There are very few burgers I have made that I would say are good plain – no cheese, no ketchup, no sauce of any kind – but these definitely stand up to that challenge. Rachael Ray is the Burger Queen and this recipe proves it.

Even if you don’t have a birthday to celebrate this weekend, these would be great on the grill at any Fourth of July barbecue!

Barbecue Burgers

1 pound lean ground meat, (can use chicken, turkey, or beef)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning

Preheat broiler to 450 degrees.

Place the meat in a bowl with the garlic, onion, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, and Montreal seasoning. (Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil if you are using turkey or chicken because poultry is drier than beef.) Combine ingredients to form 4 patties.

Place on broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

Broil for 10 minutes on each side.

Source: Rachael Ray’s “365: No Repeats–A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners”, p. 227; the version on Food Network is quite different and includes a recipe for a slaw topping
4 servings | 5 POINTS


July 3, 2009. recipes.


  1. Rachel replied:

    Liz, those burgers look amazing! I think I may have found our 4th of July dinner! :)

  2. applec replied:

    The recipe sounds great. How do open your mouth that wide to get all of it in? They look HUGE! Great idea for Ryans B-Day…Happy Birthday Ryan!

  3. sara replied:

    Wow, those look amazing! There is nothing better than a good juicy burger. Happy Birthday to Ryan :)

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