My mother was a terrible cook. She only owned a single cookbook – one from Duncan Hines that she received on her honeymoon from the resort where she and my father stayed. Far as I know, she never even cracked it open.
Meatloaf was the only thing my mother made that I can truly say was good. And that was only because she made my father lumpy oatmeal each and every morning. I suspect she was bored one day while haphazardly stirring the lumps and noticed there was a recipe on the oatmeal box for meatloaf. She even made a recipe card for it, suggesting, at least for a moment, that she enjoyed cooking.
I still have that recipe card, impeccably typed, and now stained and yellow with age. I take special delight in her hand-written culinary footnotes: “Sometimes I throw in a can of tomatoes, Kikkoman soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce…whatever might ‘doctor it up!’” That Kay Chapin. She was a wild woman.
I still love meatloaf done the traditional way, but I also love it grilled as a burger. The advantage to the burger is that you get more of the best part: the sticky tomato glaze on top. Next time you’re trying to think of a quick weekday meal to serve up the whole family, don’t forget about these All-American Meatloaf Burgers. You just might like them enough to put on a recipe card.
Take your favorite meatloaf recipe to the grill for individual patties glazed with savory sweet tomato sauce.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup yellow pepper, diced
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Spanish onion, diced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 4 tablespoons merlot or other dry red wine
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 6 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
- 6 hamburger buns
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 large crisp lettuce leaves
- Pre-heat the grill to medium heat.
- In a heavy sauté pan, heat the oil. Add the yellow pepper and onion. Sauté until translucent. Set aside and cool completely.
- Combine ketchup, merlot, and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce in small, heavy saucepan on grill. Heat over low heat until just warmed through. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled peppers and onions, ground chuck, 2 teaspoons salt, 1-teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and Italian breadcrumbs. Gently mix with two forks. Don’t over-mix!
- Loosely form six patties.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat. Carefully place burgers onto the grill using a large spatula. Cover and grill for four minutes. Flip burgers and liberally brush on ketchup mixture. Grill covered an additional four minutes. Avoid pressing the burgers once they’re on the grill, you don’t want to lose all those juices in the patties!
- Place cheese slices on top of each burger and close lid to melt the cheese, approximately 30 seconds. Remove the burgers from the grill.
- Split the hamburger rolls and butter. Grill buns until lightly toasted. Place hamburgers on buns. Top with lettuce and the remaining hamburger buns.
There are two keys to any good juicy burger. One, don't over-mix the meat. I use two forks to keep the mixture light. If you're not as much of a geek as I am, use your hands. Just go easy. The second key is to avoid pressing the burgers once they're on the grill. All those juices in the patties will end up on your grill and not in the burger.