5 Ways to Eat Burgers in the Middle of Winter

January  8, 2016

At one point this past summer (a point that I’m not particularly proud of), I ate burgers for dinner for an entire week straight. In my defense, I was on a burger-high from discovering Ashley Rodriguez’s special burger sauce, had just discovered that my Emergency-Use-Only Fire Escape doubled as the perfect Burger-Eating Nook, and was doing “research” for an article. My recipe was simple and unchanging: I layered buns swiped with Ashley’s sauce, a freshly-ground patty, a tomato slice, onion rounds, and arugula.

Save a tomato; eat yogurt. Photo by James Ransom

After vowing to never, ever eat another burger after my summer of meat-lovin’—I’d overdone it, to say the least—the burger cravings returned this week, in the middle of winter. I was faced with a serious conundrum: What was a seasonal-vegetable-eating burger-lover to do in this situation? Tomatoes and arugula were out of the question and an all-onion burger didn’t have the same appeal. After some careful consideration—and more “research”—here are several options for winter-appropriate burger toppings (with burger shack-worthy names):

The Roamin' Romesco

If you can't imagine a burger without tomatoes, put them (the canned version, that is) in a romesco sauce. Suzanne Goin's grilled pork burgers—packed with minced bacon and fresh Mexican chorizo—are topped with a romesco sauce made from ancho chiles, cayenne pepper, and an egg yolk to hold it all together.

The Jumbo Burger with Shrimp

Take surf n' turf to your burger with a shrimp-topped burger. Either make like Lady and Pups and top your burger (she uses a chorizo-based patty) with garlic shrimp, or add XO sauce, a rich Chinese sauce made from dried seafood, chiles, and garlic.

The Probio-burger

Yogurt is often served as a refreshing and tangy addition to lamb, and it works just as well for burgers. Make a spiced tzatziki yogurt, but skip the cucumber and sub in something winter-friendly like fennel or finely chopped Brussels sprouts.

Salad, meet burger. Photo by Elizabeth Stark

The Here Comes the Sun

Inspired by one of our favorite bright winter salads and the abundance of winter citrus, we topped a burger with grapefruit and sliced fennel. Kick it up a notch with a spiced tahini-yogurt dressing.

The Day-Tripper

Sautéed mushrooms and onions are a classic addition to steak and their earthy flavor goes just as well with burger patties. Top your burger with Stuart Brioza's mushrooms—which are cooked with pickle brine, so you can get the burst of acid and salt without the slices!

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What are your favorite winter burger toppings? Tell us in the comments below!

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  • Smaug
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    kathie easom
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I eat everything.


Smaug January 10, 2016
#6- move to California; I'm still using garden grown (if mostly house ripened) tomatoes. Failing that, roast and peel a largish sweet pepper (a fresh Ancho, if you can get it)& slap it on there.
kathie E. January 10, 2016
San Antonio burger- jalapeño, refried beans, diced onion, cheese sauce, and Fritos!
drbabs January 8, 2016
Sauté some onions until they're really browned and soft, and stir them into barbecue sauce. (I like the Dead Guy sauce on this site.) Works on any burger, even veggie.