The Alt Burger: 5 Non-Beef Burger Ideas

At D’Artagnan we always look to shake things up in the protein department. Make no mistake, we adore a Wagyu beef burger any time of the day, month or year. But equally tempting are alternatives like buffalo, lamb and turkey.

Burgers have come a long way since the original ground-beef patty graced the inside of a white-bread bun. Creative burger variations and non-beef burgers, in particular, are growing more and more popular in our grill-happy, sandwich-loving culture. Time to get the meat grinder attachment for your KitchenAid, and start customizing your burgers.

Buffalo Sliders with Foie Gras and Onion Marmalade

Buffalo Burgers

Ground buffalo patties are a very close cousin of the beef burger, and can be prepared almost the same way. Choose our ground buffalo meat if you want to customize the size of your patties.

Buffalo meat is higher in protein, lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol, and a touch sweeter than beef. Due to its lean composition, make sure not to overcook buffalo burgers.

For a rich twist, try topping buffalo burgers with a thin slice of foie gras just before serving. Or try our Buffalo Bleu Cheese Burger recipe – the addition of bacon and blue cheese balance out the lean burger.

buffalo blue burger

Venison Burgers

Can you make venison burgers? Sure you can. Tender, free-range venison creates an elegant variation on the classic burger. Because it is so lean, ground venison will need to be enhanced with pork; get our Berkshire pork shoulder, try bacon, or even chorizo sausage to enhance this lean burger.

Venison burgers can be seasoned simply with salt and white pepper and grilled – take great care not to overcook, as the lean meat will dry out quickly.

Lamb Burgers

Lamb lovers will agree, nothing beats a bacon-wrapped patty of ground lamb that’s been flavored with chopped fresh rosemary and black pepper. To keep the smoky, salty bacon in place while the burger cooks, try securing the patty with a metal skewer horizontally through the center. Lamb burgers are also great when served Mediterranean-style, with pita bread, tzatziki sauce and shepherd’s salad.

Frank Fox Lamb Burger Flickr.jpg
Lamb burger, photo Frank Fox, Flickr.


Chicken and Turkey Burgers

Chicken is truly a lean way to go when picking your preferred burger protein. If you decide to grind your own, be aware that you should combine white and dark meat. Cut into 1-inch cubes and run through the meat grinder or food processor.

Complementary flavors to use in a chicken burger include sautéed onion and mixed organic mushrooms, fresh oregano and thyme, and of course, chopped bacon. Want to enrich your chicken burgers even further? Try adding a few handfuls of shredded duck confit to the ground chicken mixture before forming into patties.

Ground turkey is another way to go if you’re craving poultry — dark meat is recommended to obtain a juicier result. Our ground turkey has a good balance of dark thigh meat and lean white meat, giving it a rich turkey flavor. Banish the bland turkey burger! Our recipe for Cheese Stuffed BBQ Turkey Burger with Bacon brings the flavor.


Duck Burgers

Rich, gamey duck breast tastes terrific when ground and seasoned with fresh ginger, scallions, and soy sauce. If you’re a duck purist, try enriching your ground duck mixture with chopped duck confit — the slow-cooked meat will only increase the tenderness and duck-forward flavor of your burgers.

What alternatives to the beef burger do you enjoy? Share with us here, or find us on social media, where we love to talk about food!  Tag @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We also love pinning! Explore our tasty boards on Pinterest.

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