I came up with these “Burger Bites” a while ago on a hot LA summer day when I had a bunch of burger loving / foodie friends coming over for a BBQ pool party. We had all just gotten together a few days earlier and when I mentioned that I was making burgers they all requested their favorites immediately.
So, I decided to make everyone happy and make mini bites of everyone’s favorite burgers. I created one master recipe for the meat and served the mini burgers skewered on large toothpicks on a platter by the pool. Everyone was ecstatic! And funny enough, some of my friends discovered new favorite burger combinations.
I made a total of 8 different styles of burger bites, but decided to show the most popular 5 here in this Instructable. I hope you get to try making these Burger Bites (as everyone started calling them that day) yourself, especially for picky guests that think they only like one kind of burger. Maybe you’ll change their mind :)
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
2 lbs of ground beef (80 to 20 percent lean to fat ratio and preferably ground fresh from the chuck)
1 to 2 bags of hotdog buns of choice (you can technically use slider buns, but the hot dog buns are unique and easier to toast all at once!
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika (regular or hot paprika for some spice)
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
1 red onion (If making Blue Cheese burger bite or In n Out copycat)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil 1 tbs butter plus more for brushing bread
FOR THE MAGIC SAUCE (In n Out / Shake Shack Sauce Imitation)
Mix together 3 tbs mayonnaise, 1.5 tbs ketchup, 1 tsp sweet relish, 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar or just white vinegar, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/8 tsp black pepper, a few pinches of salt (to taste)
INGREDIENTS BASED ON PER BURGER BITE STYLE:
jarred pesto, small fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini), tomato slices (or cherry tomatoes), arugula (or spinach), basil leaf (optional
2 tbs canned green chiles, 2 ts ground cumin, avocado slices, tomato slices, Monterey Jack cheese.
All American Burger Bite:
2 thick slices of bacon, American cheese, tomato slices, iceberg lettuce or green leaf lettuce (I like iceberg for the crunch)
Mini “In n Out” Burger Bite:
Caramelized red onion, special magic sauce, American cheese, tomato slices, iceberg lettuce
Caramelized Onion, Blue Cheese, Green Apple Burger Bite:
Caramelized onion, blue cheese, slices of green apple, arugula (optional)
Step 2: Cook the Bacon
Heat a pan (preferably cast iron) over medium low heat and add a little olive oil. Cook the bacon until crispy, flipping it a few times. Should take about 7 to 8 minutes total.
Step 3: Caramelize the Onions
Pour all but about 1 tbs of grease from the pan. Heat over medium heat and add the onion pieces. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. And sprinkle 1/2 tsp of sugar over them (preferably brown sugar). This will help them caramelize faster. Lower heat to medium low and cook until onions are very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir them often and lower heat to low if they are browning too much. You just want them soft.
Step 4: Mix Spices Into Meat
Place rack in upper position in oven and preheat your broiler.
Mix the ground meat with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika (optional), 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional). Separate some meat if making southwestern burger bites and add 2 tbs of canned green chiles and 2 tsp cumin to the meat per 1 lb of meat used.
Shape Meat into little balls (about 1 round tbs in size), place on baking sheet covered with foil and oiled well. Use your hand to flatten the balls slightly, just a little. With a brush, smear some olive oil over the tops of the meat. Broil the burger bites until top is crispy and center registers 160 degrees. This should only take about 6 or 7 minutes.
Step 6: Toast the Bread
Melt some butter, cut the hot dog buns in half and place on a baking sheet. Brush the melted butter over the bread and broil for 1 min with oven slightly open so you can watch closely that they don’t burn. It might take even less. You can also toast the bread on the stove top in a pan, cut side down, with some melted butter.
Step 7: Melt Cheese on Mini Burgers
While the bread is toasting, place little American cheese squares over some of the mini burger bites and / or place Monterey jack pieces over the ones you seasoned southwestern. Place under broiler for just a few seconds, until cheese melts. You may find it easier to use a lower shelf in oven for this step.
Step 8: Make the Sauce
Make the In n Out / Shake Shack imitation sauce: Mix together 3 tbs mayonnaise, 1.5 tbs ketchup, 1 tsp sweet relish, 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar or just white vinegar, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/8 tsp black pepper, a few pinches of salt (to taste)
Also, prepare other ingredients for burger bites: slice tomato, green apple, iceberg lettuce (or green lettuce)
Step 9: HOW TO PUT TOGETHER ALL THE BURGER BITES: ITALIAN FIRST (MY FAVE)
ITALIAN BURGER BITE:
Spread some pesto on the bottom of a piece of bread (preferably pretzel), top pesto with a few leaves of arugula (can also do spinach and / add a basil leaf) then add a mini burger, then a half of a slice of tomato (can also do a halved cherry tomato), then a small fresh mozzarella bocconcini, and top with a bread piece. Skewer everything with toothpick. Also, feel free to spread pesto on both pieces of bread.
Step 10: BLUE CHEESE, CARAMELIZED ONION AND APPLE BURGER BITE:
Start by spreading a few pieces of caramelized onion on a piece of pretzel bread (or regular), then top with mini burger ball, then a piece of blue cheese, then a small slice of apple. Top with bread and skewer.
Step 11: SOUTHWESTERN BURGER BITE:
Place a mini burger meatball with melted monterey jack cheese on bread, top with piece of tomato, a small piece of avocado and another bread slice.
Step 12: MINI “IN N OUT” BURGER BITE
Spread a little of my magic burger sauce on both pieces of bread, top the sauce with a few pieces of the caramelized onion. Then top with mini burger with melted American cheese over it, then a slice of tomato, a piece of iceberg lettuce and other bread piece.
Step 13: ALL AMERICAN BACON CHEESEBURGER BITE
Spread a little of my magic burger sauce on bottom piece of bread, top with mini burger meatball with melted American cheese over it, then a pice of the bacon, a slice of tomato, a piece of iceberg lettuce (or green leaf lettuce) and then with another piece of bread. (feel free to spread sauce on both pieces of bread. Skewer everything together.