On The Today Show one morning last week, they shared a previously recorded cooking segment where they made Barbecue Chicken Burgers. They looked so good, and perfect for putting on the grill. The weather is just starting to warm up a bit, and with all this home confinement, I’m craving any reason to go outside. Grilling burgers sounded like the perfect plan.
But, problem #1 was that I didn’t have any ground chicken or turkey, and problem #2, no hamburger buns either. In past times, I would have just run to the store to get what I needed, but not in “corona times”. 😂
Therefore, this meal challenged me to go way back to basics and cook everything from scratch. I looked up a recipe for making homemade hamburger buns and went to work.
Homemade Hamburger Buns
Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt, and heat (in the microwave or on the stovetop) until it reaches about 120 degrees. I used a candy thermometer to check it. You don’t want it to be too hot, or it will kill your yeast.
In your stand mixer bowl, combine the flour with the yeast. Add the warm liquids to the flour/yeast mixture, and mix with the dough hook for 2 minutes. Add egg, and mix to combine. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for an additional 3-4 minutes. Using a bench scraper can help with this process, but is not required. HERE is the one I have.
I like to use my silicone baking mats for this. It helps prevent sticking and makes my counter top much easier to clean up.
Place dough back in the mixing bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise in a warm location for about one hour, or until doubled in size.
Turn dough out onto floured surface again, and divide into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and flatten slightly. Place dough balls on a greased baking sheet. Cover with tea towel, or plastic wrap and allow to rise 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Tip; If your kitchen is cool, you can place or dough balls into an oven (turned off) with a bowl of hot water to facilitate rising.
Homemade Hamburger Buns
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 pkg active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup butter (can use vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup sugar (can use honey)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups flour with yeast.
- Combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and heat (in microwave or stovetop) to 120 degrees.
- Add warm liquids to flour and yeast mixture and mix for 2 minutes with dough hook attachment.
- Add egg and mix to combine. Add enough additional flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. Place dough back in mixing bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Turn dough out on to floured surface, and divide into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and then flatten slightly. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or towel to let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake buns for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch carefully to prevent over browning.
- Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
- Extra buns can be frozen for later use.
Barbecue Chicken Burgers
I didn’t have any ground chicken, or ground turkey, and didn’t want to make a trip to the market, so I decided to make my own ground chicken. I found two chicken breasts in the freezer and tossed them in the food processor. Voila! Ground chicken! It really was super easy!
I used two pretty good-sized chicken breasts from my freezer, and let them thaw in the fridge for several hours. You want them still firm and partially frozen, but not rock solid. Having them a bit frozen still will give you a better texture without turning to mush.
Cut the partially frozen chicken breasts into large chunks and place them in your food processor.
Pulse a few times to grind slightly.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and let cool. Once cool enough, crumble bacon and set aside. Wipe out most of the grease from the pan, allowing some to remain. You could also use precooked bacon and skip this step.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce to the onions and sauté for another few minutes, until onions are softened and sauce reduces slightly. Turn off heat and set aside.
To your ground meat, add in the Panko, diced peppers and cooled onion/sauce mixture. Pulse to combine.
Next, add in your seasonings– smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and ground black pepper.
Finally, add the shredded cheese, and crumbled (cooked) bacon. Pulse just a few more times to fully incorporate. Be careful, you still want the texture of ground meat, not mush.
Shape into patties and then chill in the fridge a few hours before grilling to let them firm up a bit. You don’t want them to be mushy and fall through the grill grates. That would be sad.
I got four patties from my two chicken breasts after all thee mix-ins were included.
Finishing it Up
I made the buns and the chicken patties while my husband was at work. It was a much-needed warm day, so when he got home, we took a long walk in the sunshine, and then it was quick and easy to finish up dinner when we got home.
He put the patties on the grill, while I sliced a couple of potatoes into some thick-cut home fries.
We added a bit more melted cheese to the top and served the burgers on the homemade buns. My husband added more barbecue sauce to the top of his and I added some mayo.
Ideally, I’d have loved some sliced avocado, lettuce or sliced tomato for the top, but we didn’t have any of those things at home at the time, and I wasn’t making a run to the store during a pandemic to get them. We did have some grape tomatoes, so I served those on the side, along with the home fries.
Add in your beer of choice (this is a Vanilla Porter), and you have the perfect “bar and grill” dinner at home.
Take it outside on your patio if it’s a nice evening, and it’s almost like you’re enjoying dinner on the patio of your favorite restaurant.
We grilled up all four of the patties on this evening, and still had two left that we heated up a couple of nights later for an easy dinner. After both dinners, I still had 8 hamburger buns left (the recipe makes 12), which I put in a Ziploc bag and stored in the freezer. Since bread and buns are a hot commodity right now, and hard to find in some stores, this is a great solution. Plus, trust me, they taste much better than the store bought kind.
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey (or grind your own!)
- 4 slices bacon cooked
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup Panko or bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar plus more for topping
- 4 hamburger rolls buttered and toasted slightly
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and let cool. Once cool enough, crumble bacon and set aside. Wipe out most of the grease from the pan, allowing some to remain.
- Heat the olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce to the onions and sauté for another few minutes, until onions are softened and sauce reduces slightly. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Place ground chicken or turkey in a large bowl (or grind your own!) Add bacon and onion mixture, and then add Panko, bell peppers, remaining 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce and all the spices. Stir until combined, then fold in the cheddar.
- Form into 4 patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Grill burgers, or cook in skillet with olive oil until done all the way through.
- Serve on buttered, toasted rolls with extra cheese and barbecue sauce on top. Other topping ideas: lettuce, sliced avocado, sliced tomato, sliced jalapeño peppers.
My husband declared this one a winner, and I have to agree– it was pretty delicious. We will definitely be making this on repeat this spring and summer. Hopefully, I can add some avocado and lettuce to my next grocery order to make it even better.
Let me know if you give it a try!
Wishing you peace and health,
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