animal style hamburgers

From backyard bbq’s to weeknight meals, these animal style hamburgers with caramelized onions and special sauce will be your new summer staple.

It’s hard to believe I’ve made it 2+ years with this blog and I don’t have a hamburger recipe yet. What’s wrong with me! I think it’s because I don’t make hamburgers on my own, really. For some reason, I wait until we’re out and about to indulge in a thick, juicy, hearty, hamburger. 

animal style hamburgers

One thing I love about California is no matter where you go, no matter the menu, you can always ask for your hamburger to be animal style. I don’t remember that animal-style availability so much on the east coast. Or if it was an option, I always hesitated because it felt like a big ask. Out here, “animal style” aka hold the bun and wrap that baby in lettuce has become my standard order.

I thought it would be fun, now that summer is here, to bring in a BOMB hamburger recipe so you can indulge in all the yumminess. ‘Tis the season, my friends, ’tis the season. 

animal style hamburgers

Another thing I love about where I live is there is a grocery store a couple blocks away. I wasn’t completely sure how I’d transfer from my city life to suburbia with the whole car thing, but having a shopping center within walking distance has been ahhmazing. 

My love for Ralphs started with my ability to walk to it. I never came across a Ralphs during my east coast life, so I was pumped to explore a new store.  Then, as I was checking out, the cashier’s packed up my groceries and SMILED at me. What?Pleasantries? What is happening?! In Philly they’d just stare at you and be all like “Whuut? They’re your groceries.”

animal style hamburgers

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Philly. I love Philly and when people ask me how I am adjusting, I must admit that the east coast has a certain charm, hustle, and grit that I miss. I also feel some sort of way when people out here just expect their groceries to be packed for them and don’t jump in to bag when it’s needed. Wait… I don’t know how this turned into an east coast/west coast thing. I love Biggie and TuPac equally, you guys. 

Burgers! Back to the burgers. These burgers will for sure be your new summer staple. From backyard bbqs to weeknight meals, there’s fun for everyone. Plus! I’m all about the animal style, but throw some buns in there for the kids or people that want them and these puppies are a crowd pleaser.

animal style hamburgers

When I grilled these babies up, my mouth was salivating. They are so flavorful and juicy, I may or may not have licked one as it came off the grill just to get a taste…

OH! And after thirty-one years on this planet, I finally figured out the secret to a good lettuce wrap. I’m sharing the deets below, but quick spoiler, it’s ALL about the kind of lettuce you choose. 

From the special sauce to the caramelized onions, from the crunchy wrap to the juicy, charred patties, THESE are the only burgers I’m eating from here on out. Ok, might have gone a little far with that last statement, but you know what I’m saying. They’re that good. I mean, I’m definitely going to eat other burgers if the moment strikes, but as far as making them myself, THESE will be my go-to. 

So lettuce make some animal-style hamburgers. Get it? Let us…

animal style hamburgers

In a bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 of the onion (finely chopped), minced garlic, Parmesan, Worcestershire, ketchup, egg, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients and shmush everything together. When I was a kid, this was my favorite part of making meatballs. 

animal style hamburgers

Then, form them into patties. I made smaller slider patties (about 8) so they were easily wrap-able in the lettuce, but use your judgment for how big you want them. 

I went the extra step and sprayed each side of the hamburger with some ghee. you can use any spray you want (or brush them with oil). I totally don’t know if you’re supposed to do this, I just wanted to make sure there was zero sticking to the grill. 

Heat your grill on high for 5 – 10 minutes. Then turn down the heat to medium and place the burgers on the grill. Grill each side for about 5 minutes, until they are easily flippable and don’t stick when you try to slide the spatula under. 

animal style hamburgers

While you’re cooking the hamburgers, or waiting for the grill to heat up, slice the other half of the onion and place it in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter or oil. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes to caramelize the onions. 

For the special sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, ketchup, garlic powder, hot sauce, and liquid smoke. 

animal style hamburgers

The KEY to this lettuce wrap is getting GREEN LEAF LETTUCE. These are crunchy, yet foldable and they really hold together. Place a slice of tomato in the middle of the leaf, followed by some avocado, the burger, caramelized onion, and some special sauce. Fold up the sides and secure with a couple toothpicks. 

These are best and juiciest right off the grill, so enjoy immediately. OMG, salivating. 

animal style hamburgers

animal style hamburgers

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Animal Style Hamburgers

  • Author: Lindsay// The Toasted Pine Nut
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

From backyard bbq’s to weeknight meals, these animal style hamburgers with caramelized onions and special sauce will be your new summer staple.


Scale

Ingredients

  • Hamburgers:
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 34 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • Toppings:
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for caramelizing the onions)
  • 1 slicing tomato
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 8 leaves green leaf lettuce
  • Special Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash hot sauce (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • dash liquid smoke (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 of the onion (chop it), minced garlic, Parmesan, Worcestershire, ketchup, egg, salt, and pepper.
  2. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients and mix everything together.
  3. Form the meat mixture into patties. I made smaller slider patties (about 8) so they were easily wrap-able in the lettuce.
  4. Optional step: spray (or brush) each side of the hamburgers with oil or ghee.
  5. Heat your grill on high for 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Then turn down the heat to medium and place the burgers on the grill.
  7. Grill each side for about 5 minutes, until they are easily flippable and don’t stick when you try to slide the spatula under.
  8. While you’re cooking the hamburgers, or waiting for the grill to heat up, slice the other half of the onion and place it in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter or oil.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes to caramelize the onions.
  10. For the special sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, ketchup, garlic powder, hot sauce, and liquid smoke.
  11. Place a slice of tomato in the middle of the leaf, followed by some avocado, the burger, caramelized onion, and some special sauce.
  12. Fold up the sides and secure with a couple toothpicks.
  13. These are best and juiciest right off the grill, so enjoy immediately. OMG, salivating.


Notes

Serving (1 burger): Calories 424; Fat 21.5g (Sat 8.6g); Protein 47g; Carb 6.6g (net carb 5.2g); Fiber 1.4g; Sodium 224mg

 

Enjoy!! xo

Thanks so much to Ralphs for sponsoring this post! I love working with my favorite brands and couldn’t be more thrilled they support The Toasted Pine Nut!! xo

Animal Style Hamburgers