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Buffalo Chicken Burgers

By • Mar 18th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

Grilling backyard burgers is damn near sacred to me.  I definitely subscribe to the whole “approach love and cooking with reckless abandon” philosophy, but only to a point.  After I spend an afternoon manning the grill, they had better be really good.  Taking one bite and shrugging off a new cheeseburger twist as a failed experiment just isn’t an option… not with a wife and two kids who will peer at me over their inedible reject with that “What now, Burger Chef?” look.

But I felt good about my latest mission: Buffalo Chicken Burgers. All of the great flavors of a big platter of Buffalo wings.  None of the bones.

For starters, I whipped up a chunky blue cheese sauce and set it aside.  Then it was onto the patties, using 2 pounds of ground chicken and mixing in a stalk and a half of celery, finely chopped:

It was time to bring the heat, but the recipe I was using didn’t specify a brand of cayenne pepper sauce.  I’m a Tabasco fan, but it can be pretty overpowering when used straight, especially if you’re talking about 4-plus tablespoons of it.  For cooking, I like the Crystal brand.  But I wanted something a little thicker, more like a wing sauce.  And it had to have a nice taste to it all by itself.  I went with Frank’s Red Hot, which wins a lot of taste tests as something you could use as a true condiment, not just an ingredient.

As the patties hit the hot grill, they looked… well… weird.  Burgers aren’t supposed to be orange.  But then the smoke started wafting that hot sauce around, and I was reminded of the end goal.

I flipped my patties (ooh, that sounds a little naughty) and was glad I took the precaution of freezing them for 2 hours first.  I got just some slight breakage on a couple, but nothing major.

I “bunned” these babies on a bed of baby spinach leaves, ladled on some of the blue cheese sauce, and scattered on some scallions I had in the fridge.  Gorgeous?  Yes.  Tasty?  I’d soon find out.

If you ever want an honest opinion on something, ask a 6-year-old.  Before I could even sit down, my daughter was already prepared to deliver her verdict.  “Well.. (chomp, chomp)… it sure is a weird-tasting burger!“  But she didn’t say it like she was repulsed.  She said it with a big toothless smile and a lift in her voice at the end of the sentence, like that’s what I had said I was shooting for all along.

For the record, the grown-ups at the table found it to be a more-than-worthy addition to the burger repertoire.  Nice texture and good consistency (unlike my turkey burgers from last fall), a welcome bit of crunch from the mixed-in celery and the scallions on top, and lots of gooey blue cheese in every bite.

In fact, my only criticism is that the sauce was quite messy.  There was a lot of finger licking going on, which isn’t necessarily bad, and a whole lot like going out for real wings, but when I do these burgers again, I’ll adjust the ratios of ingredients to make the blue cheese sauce a tad thicker.

And for the hotheads, be aware that these burgers are supermild.  That went over fine at my house, as I’m the only who likes the really spicy stuff.  Next time, I’ll paint mine with more wing sauce once it comes off the grill.  Hell, it’s already “weird” and orange.  Might as well go all out.

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One Response to “Buffalo Chicken Burgers”

  1. 1
    Lauren from Sutter Home’s Wine & Burger University Says:

    Those Buffalo Chicken Burgers are a really creative idea, and they look delicious too!

    Have you heard of the Build a Better Burger competition? It’s a creative gourmet burger contest on the Food Network Channel. Your burgers seem like they’d be a good contestant for the cook off, and if your burger recipe gets picked as a finalist, you could win a free trip to Napa Valley to compete for the grand prize of $100,000!

    http://www.wineandburgeruniversity.com.

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