Nothing says summer quite like a barbecued Canadian hamburger. While steak remains Canada’s number one grilling meat of choice, burgers are a close second from sea to sea to sea.
Given the ease and affordability of the hamburger, it’s no surprise that ground beef is one of the most popular truLOCAL meats come summertime.
But while the classic ground beef burger will always be a popular choice, a lot of Canadians are starting to experiment with alternatives. One of the things that makes burgers special is the fact that you can create so many different flavours by tinkering with your favourite recipes, and if you are looking for ways to spice up your burger grilling plans this summer, swapping out the usual ground beef for something a little more exotic is a great way to start.
And because it is easy to buy bulk meat online through truLOCAL, making sure you get as much quality ground meat as you want is as easy!
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the different meats you can use as a base for your burgers. We’ll also discuss how different cooking methods like barbecuing, smoking, and pan frying can help you infuse your burgers with new and exciting flavours.
Lamb has traditionally been a major part of cuisine from the British Isles, but sheep have never played as big a role in Canadian agriculture as they do in countries like England and New Zealand.
Most Canadians have probably tried lamb at one point or another, but it isn’t likely to be one of their go-to meats — especially not when it comes to burgers.
But there are plenty of good reasons to give lamb burgers a try this summer, not least of which being that lamb is rich in nutritious fats, making it an ideal choice for healthy grilling.
The unique, gamy flavour profile of lamb also gives you an opportunity to try out a variety of different seasoning options. Mint with lamb is one of the classic culinary flavour combinations, and minted lamb burgers are an easy way to try it out for yourself.
While you can cook lamb burgers the classic way, over charcoal, this is a meat that also benefits from a low-and-slow approach, so starting it over indirect heat and only moving it over to the flame to finish it yields good results.
If you want to give lamb burgers a try but you want to play it safe, ordering our pre-made rosemary garlic lamb burgers made from Beverley Creek lamb raised right here in Ontario is a great option. These burgers come pre-seasoned, and can be popped right on the grill as soon as they are defrosted!
As a meat, pork often plays third fiddle to the more popular beef and chicken. Aside from our beloved bacon, Canadians tend not to pick pork as their first choice.
This is a shame: pork is versatile, tasty, and easy to cook, and when it comes to building a burger that really stands out, ground pork patties topped with bacon is hard to beat.
If you are trying pork burgers for the first time, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Ground pork doesn’t have the same intense flavour profile that beef has, which means that if you just use your regular beef recipe, you’ll probably find the resulting burger a bit bland.
The upshot of this is that there are lots of exciting pork burger recipes to experiment with. Pork takes seasoning very well, so whether you want to try an Asian fusion burger or an Italian-style herb and garlic burger, pork is a great meat to use.
And with our monthly bacon delivery for bacon lovers it’s easy to pair your ground pork burgers with high quality crispy bacon in a combination that is sure to get you more than a few compliments.
Ground Grass Fed Beef
Sometimes, of course, you just want a good beef burger — but sticking with beef doesn’t need to mean using the same old recipe. If you want to give your favourite burger recipe a fresh kick, using grass fed beef instead of the standard grain-finished beef is something you need to try.
When cattle have eaten a pasturage-only diet for their entire lives, the meat they produce has a different quality and flavour. Grain-finished beef tends to be sweeter and less powerful than grass fed beef, and the bold, earthy flavour of grass fed beef pairs perfectly with charcoal grilling or smoking.
When it comes to getting grass fed beef in Canada truLOCAL is proud to provide beef from local farms committed to sustainable environmental practices. And when you order your grass fed beef through truLOCAL, you have the choice of getting grass fed ground beef and grass fed steak delivery in the same order, ensuring that you have lots of options when it comes time to grill.
If you are new to cooking grass fed beef, however, you should be mindful of the fact that grass fed beef contains significantly less fat than grain finished beef, which means that it cooks faster and has a tendency to dry out.
While most burger recipes don’t call for additional fat, when cooking with grass fed beef, some cooks like to include butter as part of the binding solution, or opt to brush the burgers when they are on the grill. This imparts some added flavour, but it is also a good way to keep the burgers moist and juicy.
When it comes to seasoning grass fed beef, most recipes will stick with a basic salt and pepper mix to bring out the natural beef flavour. But if you want to get a little more adventurous, adding some garlic powder, smoked paprika or lemon pepper is a nice touch.
Chicken is by far the most popular meat in Canada, but most barbecue aficionados are more likely to barbecue wings, breasts, or even whole butterflied chickens rather than chicken burgers.
While there are a lot of great ways to enjoy chicken on the grill this summer, why not try our own recipe for these Greek chicken burgers — Not only do they taste great, when you order through truLOCAL, you can make sure your chicken is sourced from local, sustainable farms where the utmost care is taken to produce the best possible product.
If you like the challenge of making your own chicken burgers, of course, you can order ground online chicken delivery from truLOCAL at any time. Our ground chicken comes in easy-to-use packages, so you only have to defrost what you need for one meal.
Chicken burgers have long been a favoured alternative to beef burgers, especially for people who are trying to eat less red meat but can’t say know to a nice plate of barbecue.
But if you’ve ever brought chicken burgers to a cookout, you’ve probably heard someone complain that they just find chicken burgers too dry compared to beef.
The very thing that makes chicken a desirable alternative to beef for a lot of people — the leanness of the meat — also makes it prone to drying up. This is why, when it comes to making chicken burgers from scratch with ground chicken from your truLOCAL order, it is important to include binding agents that will keep it moist.
Including breadcrumbs, lemon juice, mayo, and garlic is a great way to give the chicken some flavour and texture while also ensuring that it will retain its juices. And when it comes to grilling, never use your spatula to flatten the burger: you will squeeze all that good moisture out.
A good way to think of cooking burgers with ground turkey is that it is just like cooking chicken burgers, but more so. Just as chicken is packed with flavour and nutrients but prone to drying out, if it isn’t prepared properly and cooked with care, turkey burgers won’t be nearly as appetizing as a classic beef burger.
But with that being said, turkey’s subtle and slightly gamy flavour makes it an ideal meat for slow cooking, which is why we would recommend using truLOCAL ground turkey as the base for a smoked burger.
Smoking and grilling are very different approaches to cooking, and while grilling is all about that flame-kissed crust of char that sears in juices, smoking is about slowly infusing the meat with rich hardwood flavours like hickory, cherry, and mesquite.
To make smoked turkey burgers, simply follow your favourite turkey or chicken burger recipe (this classic example uses garlic, green onions, sundried tomato, lemon, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper), heat up the coals in your smoker, and add some woodchips. Once the wood starts to smoke, put the burgers in.
Ten minutes per side should be sufficient to cook them through, but use a meat thermometer to make sure they are completely done before serving.
One of the things truLOCAL has always stood for is high quality, sustainable meat sourced from local farms and providers. And in Canada, it doesn’t get much more local and sustainable than buffalo.
For thousands of years, buffalo was a staple meat for the people living in North America, and for many it still is today. If you’ve wanted to try buffalo for a while but you want to start with a manageable recipe, firing up the grill and cooking some buffalo burgers is one of the best ways to try out this unique food.
Like grass fed beef, buffalo contains significantly less fat than grain finished beef, so the same concerns about moisture will apply. Because the meat has a fairly rich flavour, minimal seasoning should be sufficient; salt and pepper is all you need to strike the perfect balance of taste and texture.
Cooking Methods: How to Make Your Burgers Stand Out This Summer
In this article, we’ve already touched on some of the ways you can get maximum flavour out of your burgers this summer. Grilling, smoking, and pan-frying all come with different benefits, and while some meats might lend themselves more to one method, trying things out for yourself is the best way to find out what works best for you.
Here is a brief rundown of how each of these approaches to cooking can help you bring out new flavours, no matter what kind of burger you are cooking.
For most people, this is the standard approach to barbecue. Grilling involves cooking meat at a relatively high temperature over gas or charcoal, and it is ideally suited to giving your burgers a nice charred exterior while searing in those tasty juices. For best results, make sure that burgers have been warmed to room temperature before grilling, and only turn them over once.
When smoking, heat is not applied directly to the burgers: instead, the burger is cooked slowly over time by hot, smoky air that infuses the meat with lots of flavour. This can be done using wood chips and a standard charcoal grill, or you can purchase a smoker specifically for this purpose. While burgers smoke relatively quickly compared to larger cuts, it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through.
Pan frying involves cooking burgers in oil covered frying pan over a medium heat. It has the advantage of allowing you to cook your burgers alongside onions, mushrooms, and a variety of other tasty toppings. If you really want to get adventurous, you can try braising the meat in wine or broth to make it even juicier.
Summer is a great time to experiment with food, so this year don’t waste the precious months of good weather firing up the same old burgers. With truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, you can get premium local meat delivered to your door on a bi-weekly, tri-weekly, or monthly basis.
Thanks to truLOCAL, you can try as many burger recipes as your heart desires, so start building your first truLOCAL meat box today!