RECIPES

Good Ranchers presents its 4 most epic burgers in time for Memorial Day weekend

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen
Bacon, egg and avocado burger from Good Ranchers.

If you're looking to level up your burger game for Memorial Day weekend and beyond, these top-notch burger recipes from Good Ranchers should be on your agenda. 

Good Ranchers is a meat delivery business connecting socially responsible American ranches and farms to U.S. consumers, with a mission to make high-quality meat and seafood more affordable. The company donates 10 meals to food banks for every box ordered, with more than 1 million meals donated in the first four years.

What's more, the culinary team has some chops. From an entire slew of burger recipes, they've picked the four best, each more perfect for grilling season than the last.

Bacon, egg and avocado burger

Bacon, egg and cheese is a classic combo for a reason — it's just plain good. Put it all on a burger with some slices of fresh avocado, and you're looking at one memorable cook-out. 

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

8 slices bacon, thick-cut

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, lean

2 avocados, pitted, and thinly sliced

4 large lettuce leaves

1/2 red onion

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon steak seasoning

4 hamburger buns

3 tablespoons butter, salted

4 slices cheddar cheese

4 large eggs

Instructions

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Butter each half of the hamburger buns.

Place bacon in a heavy skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels. Set the skillet aside, reserving grease.

Mix ground beef, Worcestershire sauce and steak seasoning together in a large bowl; do not overmix. Form into 4 patties. Make a thumbprint in the middle of each patty to keep it from shrinking as it cooks.

Grill patties on the preheated grill until preferred doneness, about 6 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees. Top each burger with 2 slices bacon and a Cheddar cheese slice; close the grill lid until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Remove patties from the grill.

Place buns on the grill, buttered-side down, and cook until lightly toasted. Remove from the grill. Place 1 patty on the bottom half of each bun.

Reheat the bacon grease in the skillet over medium-high heat. Crack eggs into the hot skillet and fry until whites are cooked but the yolk is still runny, about 4 minutes. Immediately place 1 egg on top of each patty. Top with lettuce, onion, avocado, and remaining buns

Cheddar and onion smash burger.

Cheddar and onion "smashburgers"

This is a classic smashburger with onions cooked into the patty for that real-deal diner taste. This should be cooked on a skillet on your stovetop, as part of the magic comes together when the burger patties are rendered crisp and browned in the grease.

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs ground beef chuck

2 onions, sliced paper-thin

16 bread-and-butter pickles, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 4-inch potato buns

4 slices of Cheddar cheese, sharp

Umami dust, for sprinkling (optional, see Note)

Instructions

Heat a cast-iron griddle until very hot. Layer the pickle slices on the bottom buns.

Without overworking the meat, loosely form it into 4 balls and place them on the griddle. Cook the meatballs over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Using a sturdy large spatula, flatten each ball into a 5-inch round patty. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, until well seared.

Press a handful of sliced onions onto each patty. Using the spatula, carefully flip each burger so the onions are on the bottom. Top with the cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Cover with a roasting pan and cook just until the cheese is melted, 1 minute more. Transfer the burgers with the onions to the buns and sprinkle with umami dust. Top with the buns and serve.

This nacho burger is full of cheesy, spicy goodness.

Nacho burger

Fresh salsa, pickled jalapenos and a cheese sauce come together to make a flavorful burger with a kick.

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

For the salsa

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

3 plum tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced

Salt to taste

For the cheese sauce

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese

2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Salt

For the burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 vegetable oil

4 hamburger buns

Pickled jalapeno slices

Blue corn tortilla chips

Instructions

Make the salsa: In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt.

Make the cheese sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the Jack cheese until melted, then stir in the pecorino; season with salt and pepper. Let cool until spreadable.

Make the burgers: Light a grill. Form the beef into four patties and brush with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until browned outside and medium within, four minutes per side. Place the burgers on the buns, top with the cheese sauce, salsa, jalapeños and chips, and serve.

Barbecue havarti burgers with curly fries are slightly sweet and all the way delicious.

Barbecue Havarti burgers and sweet potato fries

This is a bit more of a complicated recipe than your average burger, but the results will be worth it. You'll need a spiralizer to make the sweet potato fries, which then get fried, seasoned, and layered on top of the patty. 

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients

Burgers:

1 pound ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons barbecue sauce of your choice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

8 ounces Havarti cheese, sliced

4 brioche or sesame seed buns, depending on your size preference

Spring greens for serving

Sweet Potato Fries:

3 sweet potatoes, spiralized

Vegetable or canola oil for frying

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

For the burgers: Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the barbecue sauce and gently mix with your hands to incorporate, forming 4 patties.

Heat a large skillet (or your grill, your preference) over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Cook the patties until browned on both sides and your desired doneness is reached. A minute or two before they are done, cover the tops with the sliced Havarti and cover the skillet to let the cheese melt.

To serve the burgers, add a dollop of barbecue sauce on the bottom of the bun, then cover with spring greens. Add the patty on top, more barbecue sauce and a heaping pile of sweet potato fries (recipe follows).

Sweet Potato Fries:

Spiralize the sweet potatoes and place the spirals in a large bowl. Cover with water completely and let soak for 45 minutes. Once finished soaking, place the potato spirals on a large towel, covered with another towel, and pat firmly to remove as much water as you can.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Fit the pot with a candy thermometer. You want the oil to be around 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with paper towels. Stir together the sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and pepper.

Working in batches, add some of the potato spirals to the oil (don’t overcrowd) and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until they very so slightly seem to be crisping or changing texture. Remove the spirals with a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs and place on the paper towel to drain the excess oil. Repeat with remaining spirals. Once those are all finished, you do the second fry. Work in batches again, this time the spirals will only need 1 to 2 minutes in the oil. Remove and place on a paper towel again. While still hot, cover the spirals in the seasoning mixture.

More:Best mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, more: National Barbecue Month sides

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Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com