Burger Bucket List

by Katie Faulkner

One of the most quintessential courses in the American diet – the burger. It has been modified, stylized, and themed. But there’s nothing like your own recipe. These locals are lauded for their take on this classic concoction.
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Dan and Frank


By Frank Blair and Dan Griess, Ooltewah


  • 6 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 8 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned  and sliced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 lbs. 80/20% blend ground chuck
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 4 Kaiser rolls (sesame seed buns can be used as well)


Preheat oven to 400°. Place the bacon in a large sauté pan and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon; rest slices on paper towel to drain excess fat and cool for 5 minutes. Reserve 1- 2 Tbsp. of the bacon fat in the pan. Dice bacon into smaller than bite-sized pieces on a cutting board. In the pan, add the mushrooms and diced shallots and cook over medium heat until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Set mushrooms and shallots aside to cool in a bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, black pepper, salt, and Worcestershire. Separate the mixture into 4 equal portions. Divide each portion into 2 separate patties (total 8 patties).

Combine cheese, cooled mushrooms and shallots, and bacon mixture in a bowl and mix together well. Take 1 patty and top with 2 oz. of the mixture. Place another patty on top and pinch around the edges, covering filling completely. Make the rest of the patties the same way (4 patties total).

Over medium-high heat, heat a large skillet with grapeseed oil. Once hot, add the burgers and cook for 2 minutes per side. Place the pan into the oven and cook for 4-6 more minutes for medium burgers (or, if you prefer, grill them outside on medium heat).  We prefer to cook them to a medium heat temperature of 145° -150°).

Remove from the oven (or grill), garnish the bun with leaf lettuce, mayo, or mustard to your preference and serve on a Kaiser roll. For bacon lovers, cross two pieces over the top of the burger for the “killer appearance.” Slice and serve the burger cut in half to expose that wonderful layer of bacon, shallots, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. Serves 4.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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The Everley Burger

By Alex Everley, Cleveland


  • 2 – 3 lbs. 80/20% blend ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. Dale’s sauce
  • 1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • * All seasoning amounts above are a rough estimate and can be adjusted to taste.
  • Sliced cheese (of your preference; we use
  • Burger buns
  • Topping selections


Form patties from ground beef and coat one side of each burger with Dale’s sauce and Lawry’s seasoning. Allow to marinate for up to 1 hour. Place patties on preheated grill, marinated side down, then brush unseasoned side with Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt. When burgers are almost done, fold corners in on cheese slices before laying over each burger. This is a simple little trick my grandfather taught me. Place the burger bun bottoms on top of the cheese, allowing the cheese to melt into the bun. Stack top buns on top of bottom buns before closing the grill again – this allows both sides of buns to be mildly smoked and toasted inside grill. As the burgers are ready to come off the grill, place burger and bun into a Dutch oven and close the lid, allowing the buns to also be steamed. Guests may select burgers from Dutch oven at their leisure and top with classic toppings and condiments such as bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, or whatever else your preference may be. Serves 8-10.

(above) photos by Terry Henson

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Greek Turkey Burgers

By Autumn Witt Boyd, Riverview


  • 2 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. feta cheese, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Shape into eight 6-oz. patties. Place on a grill rack. Grill on a preheated grill on both sides until the liquid runs clear when pierced with a fork. Serve on sandwich buns with desired condiments. Serves 8.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Hollis pictured with husband, Matthew, and daughter, Perri.

Hollis’ Hamburger

By Hollis Lamb, East Brainerd


  • 1 piece of sandwich bread, crust removed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (sourdough is great if you have it, but regular bread will work just fine)
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 & 1/2 lbs. 85/15% blend ground beef (We use chuck. Anything from 15 to 20% fat will give you a rich flavor and an appealing texture.)
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 4 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 pretzel buns
  • Preferred condiments and toppings


Soak bread in milk and let sit until bread has absorbed the milk. Whisk or beat with a fork until the mixture is chunky. Add salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Mix well. Add ground beef to the mixture and scallions if desired. Hand mix the burgers, but don’t overwork the beef. The more you handle it, the more rubbery it’s going to be. Form the burgers into 4 patties with a small divot in the center. This will prevent the burger from bloating and give you a flatter burger. Cook bacon on the stove top (save the drippings to fry chicken another day!). Clean grill and turn on.

Wipe grates with vegetable oil. Hold a group of paper towels with long-handled tongs and dip paper towels in a bowl of vegetable oil. When towels have absorbed the oil, run them over cleaned grill grate. The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels and cover the grate; it will become “nonstick.” When the grate turns black and glossy, it’s ready. As you’re cooking, flip the burgers once and don’t press them (even though you want to) – you’ll lose flavorful juices.

While the burgers are on the grill, melt half of the butter in a skillet, and put the buns in the pan to toast the inside of the buns. Repeat with the other 2 buns, adding butter as needed. Assemble burgers with your favorite toppings. Serves 4.

(above) photos by Terry Henson

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