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Spice-up Your Burgers

stephenlinn's picture

BurgerWhen I travel to tailgates and other events around the country I get one question over and over again. The question is, “People at my tailgate party all seem to want something different. How can I have variety without making multiple dishes or breaking the bank?” It’s just as valid a question for backyard get-togethers, too.

One easy solution is to take what is probably the most popular tailgating food – hamburgers – and spice it up. Literally.

Hamburger meat – whether beef or turkey – is darned economical, especially if you buy it in bulk at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s. Before you head out to start tailgating, divide the meat into 1 – 1¼ pound segments, put them in separate zip-top bags, and store them in your cooler or refrigerator. If you’re using a cooler, be sure to have enough ice to keep the temperature below 40º at all times. 

Having your ground meat in pre-divided bags will make it easy to spice them up in the parking lot… and with some pre-planning you can go from America to Mexico to Italy, all between two buns.

Here are four ideas for spicing up your burgers, but there are many others. Next time you’re at the grocery store take a look at the pre-mixed spice packets and pick-up the ones that look good to you. You may be serving everyone burgers, but they each can pick their favorite taste.

Variety Is the Spice of Burgers

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey (use 1¼ pounds meat for milder


1 packet spices and seasonings

Garnishes (see below)


Combine the meat with your seasoning packet of choice (see options below). Mix thoroughly and shape into patties.

Grill the patties for 7 to 10 minutes, turning once. (For beef cook until internal temperature is 145° for medium; for turkey cook until the internal temperature is 160º.) 

Top with your choice of garnishes and serve.

Makes 4 burgers.


Chili Burgers

1 (1.25-ounce) packet chili seasoning

Top the burgers with your choice of grilled onions, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

Fajita Burgers

1 (1.25-ounce) packet fajita seasoning

Top the burgers with your choice of grilled onions and salsa, and consider serving on onion buns rather than plain hamburger buns.


Taco Burgers

1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning

Top the burgers with your choice of guacamole, salsa, jalapeño Jack cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

Italian Burgers

1 (1.25-ounce) packet spaghetti sauce spices

Top the burgers with your choice of Mozzarella cheese, Romaine lettuce, and mayonnaise mixed with garlic powder. French bread is a good choice for serving these burgers.


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shantihhh's picture
Spice-up Your Burgers