Dads love grilling. Dads love burgers. Trouble is, good burgers don’t always love Dad back.
That’s because great burgers often start with fatty ground beef. All that fat keeps the burgers juicy and flavorful as they grill. And then of course there is the temptation to pile on toppings and condiments, like heaps of melting cheese and thick spreads of mayonnaise.
We decided to show our love this Father’s Day by offering up a delicious burger that also happens to be healthy.
To keep our burger lean, we went with a 95 percent lean ground beef. You also could go for ground turkey, chicken or pork, but read the packages carefully; many ground meats aren’t as lean as you might think they are.
Since we removed most of the fat from our burger’s meat, we needed to add moisture. We did this by incorporating vegetables. I know, groan! Vegetables don’t belong in burgers.
But really, this is a vegetable you would have put on the burger anyway — caramelized onions. They add tons of flavor, moisture and virtually no calories. You also can make the onions well in advance so they’re all ready to go when you want to make burgers. They even freeze well if you want to make a giant batch.
To top off the burger, we skipped the cheese and went with a quick homemade barbecue sauce. Best of all, you can make the sauce right on the grill; just bring a little saucepan out with you and do all the cooking in the same spot. You’ll want to make the sauce first so that you know it’s ready to go when the burgers are.
Caramelized Onion Barbecue Burgers
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 regular burgers or 8 sliders
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large sweet onions, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pound 96 percent lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 standard or 8 slider whole-grain burger buns
1. In a large skillet over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until deep brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the skillet gets too dry, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water as needed. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and allow to cool.
2. Heat the grill to medium-high.
3. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the cooled onions, ground beef, salt and black pepper. Form the mixture into four or eight patties, pressing a slight indent into the center of each.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the cumin, cayenne and smoked paprika. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, honey, tomato paste, mustard, cider vinegar and soy sauce. Bring everything out to the grill.
5. Place the saucepan with the spices directly on the grill. Stir until fragrant and toasted, about 1 minute. Add the tomato-honey mixture to the spices and stir until simmering, about 5 minutes. Use caution, the handle of the saucepan will get very hot. Move the saucepan to the back of the grill or off to the side.
6. Add the burgers to the grill and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-well. Spoon the sauce over the burgers and serve on multigrain or whole-wheat buns.
Nutrition information per 1 regular burger (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 380 calories; 100 calories from fat (26 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 6 g fiber; 900 mg sodium