9 Classic and Creative Burger Recipes from Across America

May 21, 2015

What goes into building the perfect burger? In Marin and Wine Country, it starts with using 100% grass-fed beef to make the patty. In Long Island, the key is to smoke the beef. And in New Orleans, it’s about blanketing the beef in tangy southern comeback sauce.  Here, the editors and publishers of Edible magazines share their favorite recipes to take your burger to the next level.

farmstead burger by chef Stephen Barber
Photo by Kristen Loken

LMR's Grass-Fed Cheeseburger – Edible Marin and Wine Country
The grass-fed burger at St. Helena, California’s Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is the quintessential Wine Country burger. Executive Chef Stephen Barber uses 100% grass-fed Highland cattle beef to make the patty topped with cheddar cheese, pickles made with organic vegetables, lightly-dressed wild arugula, house-made ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, and served on a cushiony soft potato bun.  

The key to making this at home is using grass-fed beef, available in most farmers’ markets, butcher shops and large grocers. Pair it with a full-bodied wine like a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Syrah to punctuate its flavor. 


Balise burger by chef Justin Devillier
Photo by Matthew Noel

Balise Burger – Edible New Orleans
James Beard-nominated chef and owner of Balise, Justin Devillier, is known in New Orleans for his refined French bistro fare that has just the right amount of Southern decadence. The burger at Balise features a soft brioche bun cradling a freshly ground chuck patty lightly blanketed in “comeback sauce.” 

Comeback sauce, originally from central Mississippi and now common all over the south, is a mayonnaise and ketchup mixture spiked with tangy pickles and apple cider vinegar and a bit of paprika and cayenne. If you have extra, it makes a great dipping sauce for fried shrimp too.


George Motz smoked burger with homemade barbecue sauce
Photo by Doug Young

George Motz’ Smoked Burger with Homemade Barbecue Sauce – Edible Long Island
If an award-winning documentary film, Hamburger America, followed by a state-by-state guidebook on burgers, a stint hosting a show on the Travel Channel on burgers and a soon-to-be-released burger cookbook makes you an expert, then George Motz may be the country’s leading authority.

When asked to prepare one of his faves, the native Long Islander fired up the smoker to show that smoking burgers is actually easier (and tastier) than grilling. Top off the burger with some homemade BBQ sauce, sautéed Vidalia onions, bread and butter pickles, and serve it on a toasted and buttered bun. 


spiced cauliflower burger recipe
Photo by Charlotte Abrams

Spiced Cauliflower Burger – Edible Sarasota
No barbecue is complete without a veggie dish that impresses vegetarians and carnivores alike. When the spice rub on the cauliflower meets the flames of the grill, plain ol’ cauliflower reaches ultimate burger status. Add some cooling, garden fresh cilantro and cucumber and you’ll be eating Florida style at your next barbecue.


grilled meatloaf burgers
Photo by Barry Jarvis

Grilled Meatloaf Burgers – Edible Tulsa
Local farmers markets are ripe with ingredients to build a more interesting burger this time of year. Edible Tulsa publisher and chef Barry Jarvis uses some of those fresh ingredients -- like shallots and thyme – to make a grilled meatloaf sliced up and served burger style. 


lamb burger
Photo by Jenn Bakos

Lamb Burgers – Edible Capital District (Upstate New York)
In the bucolic Battenkill Valley lies the Tuscany of upstate New York's Capital Region, where lamb burgers are being added to more restaurant menus using locally sourced ingredients. The ground lamb in this burger along with raita as a condiment offers a fresh take on the traditional burger. Prep the burger mixture a couple of hours before grilling to intensify the added flavors of cilantro and curry.


cape cod burger with creamy tarragon sauce
Photo by Kevin Plumb

Cape Cod Burger with Creamy Tarragon Sauce – Edible Cape Cod
At the edge of the Great Marsh in Dennis Village, Seawind Meadows sits on ten acres and is home to pigs, goats, chickens, a pony and a majestic herd of Highland cattle. The meat from those animals has a nice flavor because the beef is slow grown and grass fed. Grass-feed beef is lower in both calories and saturated fat, which means the meat is inherently leaner. Make this Cape Cod burger at home with grass-raised beef from your local farmers’ market or grocer along with sharp cheddar, crispy, thick-sliced bacon and a creamy tarragon sauce.


indiana party sliders with honey butter sauce
Photo by Kami Noland

BBQ Party Sliders with Honey Butter Sauce – Edible Indy 
Indiana has some of the best local cheese makers in the country, which take these party sliders to the next level. Use your favorite cheddar or pepperjack cheese on these versatile burgers that can also be made with sirloin, pork or even chicken. For a vegetarian twist use a Portabella mushroom or tofu.


pimento cheese burger from The Southern in Nashville
Photo courtesy of The Southern Steak & Oyster

Pimento Cheese Burger – Edible Nashville
The Tennessee Burger at The Southern Steak and Oyster in Nashville uses pimento cheese (a staple of southern cooking), cured in-house jalapeno bacon and thinly sliced fried onion rings. To recreate one at home, start with grass-fed beef, add your favorite pimento cheese and some fried onion rings.