• Yield: Makes 4 to 7 patties; halves or doubles easily

  • Time: 20 minutes prep, 12 to 15 minutes grill time cooking, 32 to 35 minutes total

Here’s our new summer burger, packed with a ton of flavor and so juicy you could skip the ketchup.

Not to knock the great American burger, but they get boring after a while. Meatloaf patties are never boring because you can keep switching out ingredients as you please. Besides, give a meatloaf mix the right kind of backup, like this one with a little bacon, cheese, and breadcrumbs soaked in wine and garlic, and you get a patty so moist it’s nearly impossible to dry out on the grill.

Cook to Cook: Fool around with these seasonings. Add a teaspoon of Tingly Spice Blend or Global Spice. Work in leftover grilled vegetables that you’ve minced up. Nearly anything goes. Just keep the bacon, cheese and bread for moisture.


  • 1 large garlic clove

  • 1/2 cup cubed (about 1/4-inch cubes) whole-wheat baguette, or other whole-grain chewy bread

  • 1/4 cup dry red or white wine

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn

  • 1 slice bacon, minced

  • 1/2 cup (1-1/2 to 2 ounces) shredded Asiago or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 1/4 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 large whole scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 pound ground 85% beef chuck

  • Buns and trimmings as you’d like


1. Prepare your grill for a two-zone fire. If using a gas grill, set one burner on high and one burner on low.

2. Turn on a food processor and drop in the garlic. Then drop in the bread cubes and process until pieces are a quarter the size of a pea. Scrape everything into a large bowl and moisten the crumbs with the wine. Let wine soak into the bread while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

3. Completely blend in all the remaining ingredients except the meat. Then work in the meat with a spoon or fork until everything is thoroughly mixed. Scoop up 2- to 3-inch balls and shape them into 3- to 5-inch patties (I like my burgers no more than 3/4-inch thick since they will be cooked to medium-well). Dent them in the middle for even cooking. 

4. Oil the grill and set the burgers over the hot fire. Sear them on both sides, turning gently with a spatula. Shift them over to lower heat and cook about 5 minutes more per side, or until an instant-reading thermometer inserted in their centers reads 160°F. Remove the patties to a clean platter to rest for 5 minutes. Serve them hot on cut-up baguettes or buns.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.

Sally Swift
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.