Summertime Beef & Brew Grilled Burgers

Beef Chuck, Beer & Fresh Rosemary Burgers

Is there anything better in the glorious summertime than a big, juicy burger, straight off the grill, tucked into a soft, toasted bun, topped with all the fixings? Maybe with a cold, dark beer alongside? Not in my book.

But too often these days, cooks are cutting corners with the beef patties, sometimes even buying preformed patties at the meat counter. When I see someone in the grocery store reach for those predone packages of hamburger patties, I want to scream, “No, no don’t do it.” Because, well, it actually matters what grade of ground beef you buy and how you form the patties. It matters very much.

Hamburger Ingredients, Ready to Combine

You may think it’s best to buy the leanest ground beef you can find, because that’s the most expensive and expense often indicates quality. But in the case of the humble hamburger, lean meat virtually guarantees a dry burger. Instead, look for packages of ground beef that contain 16%-20% fat.

And never, never purchase preformed patties. I don’t know what they do to those poor patties in the shaping process, but the resulting burger always tastes like cardboard. If you look closely at the patties in the package, you can see that the meat is ground to almost a paste. This is the opposite of what you want.

Mixing the Burger Ingredients

If you happen to have a meat grinder, by all means grind your own meat and grind it rather coarsely. It really does make a difference. Chuck shoulder is an excellent cut to use, because it has a lot of good meaty flavor and the right amount of fat. Or, have your butcher grind it for you. Then you know exactly what you are getting and it is always an improvement over packaged ground beef.

Hamburger Mixture, Ready to Shape

It’s much better to mix a few flavor and texture enhancers into your excellent quality ground beef and then shape the patties very gently by hand, being careful not to compress the meat.

And on a somewhat contentious note: If you cook your beef patties to well-done, they will NOT be juicy and tender, no matter what else you do to them. Buying your meat from a quality butcher is your assurance that the meat is safe to eat, even at medium-rare.

Shaping Hamburger Patties with a Pancake Mold

Beef , Beer & Fresh Rosemary Burgers

This burger pulls out all the stops. It is wonderfully juicy, tender, and flavorful, thanks to the stout, onion, chile, bread crumbs, fresh herbs, and seasonings. Plus there is a secret ingredient used here that I discovered recently: unsalted butter. If you have ever dipped a piece of steak into melted butter, you know the combination is dynamite. In a burger, the butter adds not only flavor but extra lubricant for the juiciest burger ever.

1 pound ground beef chuck shoulder (at least 16% fat), well chilled
¼ cup finely minced red onion
1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and ribbed, and minced
½ cup  fresh breadcrumbs, processed until fine  
2 tablespoons stout beer (or a lighter beer if preferred, or beef broth)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, grated
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato catsup
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for grilling

crumbled blue cheese or sliced aged cheddar cheese, optional
4-5 soft, artisan buns, cut in half, lightly toasted
sliced ripe tomatoes
thinly sliced sweet onions
mayonnaise or aioli
baby lettuces
Dijon mustard
tomato catsup

  1. In a large mixing bowl, break up the ground meat with your hands. Do this lightly as you don’t want to compress the meat.
  2. Add onion, jalapeno chile, breadcrumbs, beer, garlic, butter, parsley, rosemary, Dijon mustard, catsup, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Use your hands to mix everything evenly together, again being careful not to compress the mixture.
  4. To test the seasoning level, heat a little oil in a small saute pan and saute a teaspoon of the hamburger mixture to cook through. Let cool briefly and sample. If the mixture needs more of anything, especially salt or pepper, add it now.
  5. Shape the meat mixture into four to five 3½-inch diameter, 1-inch thick patties. To obtain perfectly round patties, use a pancake ring to help with the shaping.
  6. Wrap each patty in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. The patties can be made the day before you plan to cook them. They actually seem to get better with some resting time.
  7. Preheat a barbecue grill to medium-high. When it’s hot, brush the grill with vegetable oil.
  8. Put the burgers on the grill, and adjust the heat so that they don’t overbrown while cooking through. Close the lid. It usually takes 3-4 minutes of cooking per side to achieve medium-rare burgers. Turn the burgers only once during cooking and do not poke or press down on them.
  9. If desired, add cheese to the top of each burger during the last 2 minutes of grilling. If necessary, put the lid on the grill for a minute to melt the cheese.
  10. Remove the burger patties to a clean plate and assemble the burgers.
  11. To assemble, slather each bun half with mayonnaise, mustard, and catsup, as desired. Lay the burger patties on the bottom half of the buns and top with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Add the top half of the buns to the stacks and serve immediately.

Makes 4-5, 3½-inch diameter, 1-inch thick burger patties; or 4-5 hamburgers.

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  1. alan says

    absolutely delicious!

    although i clearly see an egg yolk in the picture, there is no mention of either bread crumbs or eggs in the recipe instructions. so, wherever are these commenters coming up with their remarks about bread crumbs and eggs.

    look, if you can’t say something nice, then just shutup!
    ok ?
    ok !

    anyway, if there is an egg yolk involved here, the more the merrier. it’s all good!

  2. Casey says

    Brilliant! I was losing my taste for burgers because I was taking bad routes to making them (low fat content; compressing patties; not feeling the spices; overcooking, etc.). This rejuvenated my enthusiasm. I love these (the Stout addition is excellent – I only surrender my Guiness for special things!). Thanks, Susan.

  3. Clayton says

    This burger is amazing. I’m really surprised by the few negative comments and can’t believe those people actually tried the burger.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Thanks Suzy! I haven’t done much experimentation with veggie burgers but will try to fit that in sometime in the future. My Daughter-the-Vegetarian is also clamoring for more meatless dishes. :-)

  4. Agatha says

    Looks Delicious! I am growing rosemary here in my garden in Brooklyn NY and this recipe is a must…

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Agatha, thank you. I love rosemary. Looks like mine didn’t winter over though so will need to replant.

  5. says

    Hi Susan,

    I wanted to see if it would be ok to feature this recipe on is the public facing site of the Brewers Association, the national trade association for craft beer. This site in particular focuses on craft beer education and pairings, as well as cooking with beer.

    I would create a post similar to this one:

    And will include a photo or logo/bio/link to your site. Please let me know what you think, we would love to share the recipe.



    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Meghan, I’m sorry, but the format shown at the link you provided doesn’t work for me. You can, however, use one photo, a description of the dish, and then link to the recipe on LunaCafe. Additionally, the recipe title must be “LunaCafe’s Summertime Beef & Brew Grilled Burger.” I work very hard to develop, test, and write original recipes for Lunacafe and owe it to myself to protect my copyright. Thank you for your interest! Best …Susan

  6. chris says

    This burger is more of a meatloaf than a burger and why would you use an herb like rosemary in the middle of summer????

    The burger sucks. You suck.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Chris, I hope you don’t mind that I corrected your typos and punctuation. Did you actually try the burger? Also, the garden is overflowing with rosemary. Why oh why, shouldn’t I use rosemary in summer? As to your personal insult, may the good Lord bless and keep you and may you know that you are loved beyond measure.

    • CookingGal says

      I guess I’m out of touch.. Is rosemary in the summer like white shoes after Labor Day?? **LOL** Love this recipe.. I do a burger with rosemary and shallots every 4th of July.. My guests love ’em and look forward to them every year.. Love this recipe.. May have to give this a shot soon..

      BTW, on a side note.. Your blog prevents one from editing a comment without backing out the whole line.. I suspect that’s your right click script killing it..

      • Susan S. Bradley says

        Thanks CookingGal! That rosemary comment really threw me as well. :-) The garden is overflowing with it and I adore it. If anything, it’s a summer herb. Thanks for the FYI on the Comment functionality. I’ll have MauiJim (site Admin) look into it. Best…Susan

  7. says

    Love this burger. I agree on everything you say about the meat and how to handle it. The only thing worse than preshaped burgers are the one that are also frozen.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Stephan says

    There are a few things I disagree with in this article:
    – ALWAYS press your garlic. NEVER cut it. The flavors are not comparable.
    – Ground meat must (or really should) be cooked the same day it is produced. This is even mandatory by European Union health code regulations.

    Other than that: Looks very good. I’ll have to make some soon :-)

    • sms bradley says

      Stephan, that’s interesting. Some cooks swear by mincing rather than pressing their garlic. I use a press because its, well, easier — and also breaks the garlic down more for better distribution throughout the dish. And yes, ground beef is best cooked the same day you grind it. :-) Thanks for sharing!

    • sms bradley says

      Hey there! :-) We were really bummed when the ecoli and mad cow disease episodes first arose. Restaurants would not serve rare burgers for quite a while around here. I thought it might be the end of the hamburger as we had always known it. Thankfully that seems to be less of a concern now. But as you say, it pays to buy your meat at a reputable butcher.

  9. Ron says

    So much of this is correct, except bread crumbs and an egg. This is more like meatloaf than hamburgers. If you need these, your meat is not fatty enough. Leave out these useless items for a better taste.

    • sms bradley says

      Ron, I appreciate your viewpoint, thanks for sharing. I agree that this approach (egg and breadcrumbs) can go awry if you take it too far. I purposely keep these elements at a minimum, but perhaps they can be cut back even more. The resulting texture, however, is not like meatloaf. The breadcrumbs absorb and hold the stout and other juices in the mixture. Otherwise, I fear the burgers will not hold their shape on the grill. Do let us know if you make these without the breadcrumbs and egg. Would love to hear your results. I will do a comparison as well. Best…Susan


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