by Kristie LeVangie

It’s the 4th of July this weekend and there’s no better way to enjoy the summer season than cookouts.  With hamburgers and hot dogs topping nearly everyone’s menu, we thought fireworks shouldn’t be the only thing exploding this season.  Why not explode some tastebuds as well?

We know your guests would appreciate it.

Everyone does the standard– tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  But try some of these variations on for size:

1.  Take some direction from The Blind Burro in San Diego, California.

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The meat is a mix of hamburger and chorizo.  The burger lays on a cilantro pesto mayo slathered bun with Oaxaca cheese and poblano peppers.  (WARNING: This burger packs a wallop of a flavor punch.  Adventurous souls only.)

2.  Pitmaster Jimi will enjoy my next selection as we take a pointer from the School Yard Bar and Grill in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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The secret to this burger lies in the combination of pulled achiote-seasoned duck, queso fresco, roasted corn relish and adobo sauce.  (I can visualize a slight modification involving Pitmaster Jimi’s latest BBQ recipe. Mmmmmm….)

3.  Next for inspiration, we go to the Big Gun Burger in Charleston, South Carolina, for a burger that embodies everything Southern.

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Topped with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, chow chow, and smoky bacon, this variation is sure to have you talkin’ about how good it is in your best Southern draw.

4.  In the mood for something a bit more upscale?  Let’s go to David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago.

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He tops his burgers with garlic spinach, crispy shallots, and bacon mayonnaise.  Considering the meat is 40 day dry-aged prime steak and the classic bun was exchanged for a toasted potato bun, this burger is sure to please even the most discerning palettes.

5.  For the last entry, we go to one of my favorite local hamburger joints, Patty Burger in West Chester, Ohio.

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For those who love to stack their burgers with a little bit of everything, the Stacked Patty features Swiss, Provolone AND Cheddar Cheese, Sauteed Onions AND Mushrooms, avocado slices, tomato, onion, Applewood bacon and their special Patty Sauce.  (You can substitute tartar sauce, Thousand Island, mayo, or aioli when making it at home.)

Here’s to hoping your Fourth is filled with fireworks both IN and OUT of the kitchen.

From all of us here at Libidacoria Magazine,




  1. I believe the most important part to making a great burger is, dont play with your meat while its cooking. Folks like to turn there burgers over and over and they also want to smash them. I use 2 parts ground chuck and 1 part ground sirloin. Nevet mash your meat and let it cook each side at least 4 minutes. It provides that nice crust. 140 i s med rare while 160 internal temp is well done. Also season your meat from the outside. Just like you would a steak. Yep Ive got a killer burger/steak seasoning too. Pitmaster Jimi

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