Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and nothing quite says summer like a burger or steak hot off the grill. Whether you're firing up a big, fancy outdoor grill, or heating up a griddle on your stove, we've got you covered. Think cheesy, oniony, and beefy burgers and their tasty vegetarian counterparts, along with the very best ways to grill the very best steaks (and what inexpensive cuts will still taste great). Be sure to check out our complete steak-grilling guide for even more tips!
The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburgers
If a bacon cheeseburger is what you're craving, then look no further. This recipe starts with six-ounce patties that can be grilled or, even better, seared in bacon fat. They're topped with woven bacon for ultimate coverage, followed by sweet, browned onions, melty cheese, special sauce spiked with bacon fat, pickles, and sealed with a toasted potato roll.
Really Awesome Black Bean Burgers
These black bean burgers have a complex, satisfying flavor and robustly meaty texture that even devout carnivores will love (seriously, try them with bacon on top). Partially dehydrating canned black beans in the oven solves the problem of mushy texture that plagues most black bean burgers, while crumbled feta cheese adds moisture, and sautéed onions, poblano peppers, garlic, and just a touch of smoky chipotle pepper add seasoning right into each patty. The mixture comes together in just 25 minutes and can be used to make patties for cooking either on the backyard grill or indoors in a skillet.
Smashed Reuben Burgers
Sure, the Reuben sandwich is a classic. That doesn't mean things won't get magical when it is re-imagined as a burger. This burger is of the smashed variety, creating a crispy, lacy crust with great charred flavor. Add lots of melty Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, a tangy dressing, and toasted rye bread for a gooey, dripping, crusty, delicious Reuben burger.
There's something about the way pimento cheese melts into a rich, oozy coating. Its acidity and punch accent a thick and juicy grilled burger in a way that regular cheese just can't. Add some pickled jalapeño peppers in place of standard pickles and you've got yourself one hell of a fiery backyard treat.
Homemade Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck
Commercial vegan burgers tend to, well, suck. This recipe, which is great for griddling or grilling, decidedly doesn't suck. Admittedly, it isn't the easiest stuff to make. It requires roasting vegetables, sautéeing leeks, boiling barley, and chopping nuts and chickpeas, and that's all before you even form it into patties. But when all's said and done, you'll never look at veggie burgers the same way again.
Classic smashed burgers are all about maximizing that deep, brown crust. But what if you take it to the extreme? Enter the ultra-smashed burger—same burger size, but twice the amount of crisp, crisp crust. Keep an eye on these babies, they cook up fast!
The Best Lamb Burgers
Funky, minerally, sweet, and dripping with juice, lamb is flavorful enough on its own that you don't need to add anything to it to have a great burger experience. This recipe uses shoulder meat that's fresh ground using a grinder or food processor. You can buy ground lamb in a pinch, just make sure it's good quality. Finish it off with feta, sliced red onion, and homemade mayo for a simple but memorable meal.
(More) Ultimate(est) Perfect Sliders
Sliders are just great party food, and if you're going to serve them, you might as well make them the Ultimate(est) Perfect Sliders. By first caramelizing onions in the skillet and removing them, you build up a patina of sticky, browned onion juice that fuses itself to the beef when you smash the patties into it. Once the onions and burgers are in the pan and the buns are placed on top, place a folded towel directly over the steaming buns to get that signature texture.
Hot Hawaiian Burgers (Spam, Pineapple, Swiss, and Sriracha Mayo)
If you're skeptical about Spam on a burger, consider this: Spam and pineapple are delicious together. It's a combo that hits the rich/fresh/sweet flavors and the crisp/moist textures. Who wouldn't want that on a burger? Add a couple of slices of Swiss cheese along with a nice spoonful of sriracha-mayonnaise and the burger explodes with spice and melty cheese, which is why a toasted English muffin and all its juice-catching nooks is such a great choice here.
Easy Salmon Burgers with Dill Honey-Mustard, Horseradish, and Avocado
For the pescatarian and fish-lovers at your Memorial Day bash, make these flavor-packed salmon burgers. With the addition of horseradish, both in the burger mixture and spread, they're anything but tasteless. The juicy patties are topped with creamy honey-dijon mayonnaise and avocado slices, and come together in 15 minutes.
Sweet Barbecue Kim-cheese Burgers
If you're into kimchi, this Kim-cheese Burger will surprise you in the best kind of way. The patty is glazed with a sweet soy reduction and topped with melty cheese, kimchi, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers. The grilled burger is juicy and meaty, with cheesy gooeyness, crunch from the veggies, and funky kimchi flavor.
The Ultimate Patty Melt
Take the meat from a good burger, the caramelized onions off a slider, the buttery toast from a grilled cheese made with the rye bread from a good deli sandwich, and top it all with the melted Swiss from a Reuben, and you've got yourself one hell of a sandwich. Is it really a burger? Let's just go with it and enjoy this crispy, gooey, sweet, salty, and meaty masterpiece.
Herb-Filled Turkey Burgers With Cheddar Cheese
For a superior turkey burger, add strong, fresh herbs—parsley, mint, dill, and cilantro—directly to the patty. Sauté shallots in the same skillet to infuse them with turkey juice, and use them to top the burger along with melty cheddar, sharp Dijon, and creamy avocado. It's a bright, refreshing burger that's packed with flavor.
The Food Lab's Perfect Grilled Ribeye Steaks
There's nothing quite like a perfectly grilled steak, and ribeyes might be the best of the best. The prized piece of meat comes with a large, tender eye of meat surrounded by a swath of fat and a cap that comes from the spinalis muscle. This cap is far and away the juiciest, most flavorful piece of meat that you'll find on any steak. To achieve a crusty, well-browned exterior surrounding a core of perfectly pink, tender meat, be sure to follow these steps.
Grilled Garlic and Herb-Marinated Hanger Steak
Hangar steak is full of the beefy flavor and richness of more expensive cuts of meat like ribeye or strip without the hefty price tag. When buying, stick to a trimmed steak (not butterflied), or buy it whole and trim it yourself. Very high heat is essential to getting a nice char, and we highly recommend using a thermometer to cook it (and any steak) just right. It's a great steak for marinating, and this recipe uses olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and peppercorns.
Grilled Mojo-Marinated Skirt Steak
Skirt steak has a coarse texture and hearty grain, making it a great cut for marinating, particularly when the marinade is a garlicky mix of lime and orange juice. Cooking over very high heat maximizes the nice charred crust, while still helping the center of the steak maintain a buttery, medium-rare to medium, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Slow-Smoked Porterhouse Steaks
Smoking is generally a method reserved for long-cooking tough cuts like pork shoulder, ribs, or beef brisket, intended to deeply flavor and tenderize the meat over the course of a half day of cooking. But with a bit of finesse and a couple hours of free time, it's perfectly possible to get that same smoky flavor into a thick-cut steak and still have it come out perfectly medium-rare and juicy, so long as you play your cards right.
Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Tri-Tip
Tri-tip is the large, tender, triangular muscle cut from the bottom sirloin of a steer. It's the primary cut used for Santa Maria-style barbecue, a regional barbecue style that's not well known outside of central California. It's a fast-cooking method—that is, the meat is cooked over an open pit burning with red oak and cooked just until medium-rare. Just seasoned beef grilled, sliced, and served with salsa. Delicious.
Argentinean-Style Grilled Short Ribs with Chimichurri
More intensely beefy than a strip steak, more well-marbled than a rib-eye, far more flavorful than a tenderloin, thicker and meatier than a skirt or hanger, there's practically nothing better on the grill than a short rib. You're probably most familiar with short ribs as a braised cut. That method is fine, but for a real treat, toss them on a moderately hot grill and enjoy with an herbal chimichurri.
When feeding a crowd, kebabs are a great option and totally customizable. These beef kebabs pair marinated steak with mushrooms and onions to deliver a steakhouse experience on a stick. The marinade of Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic give these kebabs a deep and robust flavor.
Grilled Spinach and Mushroom-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin goes for top dollar for good reason, delivering on maximum tenderness, but it's also one of the least flavorful pieces of beef. This makes it a great vehicle for flavorful fillings, in this case sautéed shallots, mushrooms, garlic, crushed red pepper, and spinach. The result is a well seasoned piece of meat that is wonderfully tender, while the mushroom and spinach filling gives it a great earthy flavor and some light garlicky heat. It looks mighty impressive sliced up on a plate, too.
Steakhouse-Style Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
Of all the inexpensive cuts of beef, flank steak is one of the most versatile and easy to cook. It's also great for feeding a crowd. It's got a robust, beefy flavor and a pleasantly tender texture with a bit of good chew. It comes in large, regular shapes that make cooking, slicing, and serving easy. They're just thin enough that they'll cook through in a matter of minutes, but just thick enough that you can still get a nice, medium-rare center. And the best way to cook it is on the grill.
Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak With Scallions, Ginger, and Teriyaki Glaze
Negimaki, a Japanese appetizer of grilled beef rolled around scallions and grilled with a sweet and savory teriyaki-style glaze, is transformed into a main course-sized dish in this recipe. Butterflying the flank steak allows you to stuff it more easily, and doing so with the grain ensures that the steak will be sliced against the grain when served. Though we normally recommend starting meat over lower heat and finishing it with a sear, in this case cooking the steak over a hot fire first is necessary, building a crust that helps prevent leaking when it's transferred to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking.