Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS (…extra juicy)

This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley

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There is something to be said about summertime grilling. The warmth, the smoky grill, good company, delicious food — mmmmm! And you can’t go through a summer without grilling hamburgers at least once. I love eating a freshly grilled burger, while outside chatting with family and/or friends, chatting the evening away. It’s the best!


I have been playing with the idea lately, of putting a new spin on the old tried and true beef hamburger. However, I wanted a REALLY juicy burger. One that doesn’t inevitably dry out while on the grill. I also wanted to do something different than the same old recipe we’ve all tried a hundred times — so I thought of putting an Italian twist on it.


Soooooo, my brain got thinking. I love pesto and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and well, lots of cheese. So, I put a little of this together with a little of that — and you know what? It turned out delicious!!! Even my teenage nephews and young nieces up here in Alaska gobbled them right up. In fact, we all decided it was the BEST homemade hamburger we’d every tried. (Phew! Sometimes an idea can truly bomb…and I’ve had my share of experimental bombs.) This is SO not the case here. These are definitely a crowd pleaser.


Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)



If you only have one burger this summer, this is the one to have. This burger turned out to be so incredibly juicy and let me tell you…….the secret is adding a layer of ground sausage to your patty.


It is THE deal breaker.


But add some grilled mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and some creamy pesto sauce…..that’s it. You’re in juicy-Italian-inspired-hamburger-heaven. (I’m sure there’s a place!)


Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)

***You can kind of see that the patty has two layers… is a hamburger layer and the thinner layer is the sausage layer.  I’m serious — it makes that entire patty magical!*** 



And in my case, I didn’t have any gluten free buns on hand. So I gave the ol’ stand-by lettuce wrap version a try — and it was just as incredibly delicious!!!


Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)



I couldn’t even keep my 5-yr-old niece’s fingers out of the creamy pesto sauce while trying to take pictures. Little turkey! No joke…….everyone will love this!


Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)



And I kinda forgot until now, but the #1 grilling day is coming right up — the 4th of July!!

You will make many bellies really happy if you serve these on Friday!

Go on…..give them a try! :)


Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)




OK let’s not delay it any longer and get this going…


Shopping List (makes 10 burgers)

  • 2 1/2 C chopped Mushrooms
  • 3 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 3 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp white grape juice concentrate
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 TBS premade pesto sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Mayo
  • 2 lbs Ground beef (80%-85% lean I wouldn’t go higher than that)
  • 12.5 oz Italian Ground Sausage
  • 10 Provolone Cheese Slices
  • Hamburger buns
  • Iceburg lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes





With a little butter, sautee the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic on medium high heat. Add salt/pepper (to taste), grape juice concentrate, and 1TBS of water. Set aside.




Mix together the mayonnaise and pesto sauce and have this ready too!IMG_2431



Now, the secret to making your patties —

With 2 lbs of ground beef, divide it into 10 balls. More specifically, weigh them to 3 1/4 ounce each. (I love my kitchen scale…I highly recommend picking one up.) Grab your ground sausage and divide it out into 1 1/4 ounce balls. (If you are using the 1 lb tube of ground sausage it will make 12 with a tad extra left over.) Grab a beef ball and form it into a 4- inch disk. Grab a sausage ball and form it into a 4 inch disk as well. The sausage will be a much thinner disk. Sandwich the sausage and beef disk together.




Just press them together. Also, make sure that the center of your patty is a bit thinner than the outside of the disk. This will help the burger stay flat instead of turning into rounded burger-balls. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the beef side of the patty only. The sausage side is already well seasoned.




Place the patties beef side down on the grill. Make sure the grill is really hot and it sizzles when it is first placed on the grill. A good rule of thumb is to heat up your grill until the temp gauge on your grill reads between 400-500 degrees Farenheit. Tip: Don’t press the patties into the grill and don’t flip them more than once. Doing so will make them dry. Flip them when you see a good char forming underneath.




When you have flipped the patty sausage side down on the grill, place a spoonful of the sauteed mushrooms on the cooked side of the patty. Then place a dollop of the pesto-mayo and spread it carefully over the mushrooms and finally top with a slice of provolone cheese. While the cheese is melting, let the patty finish cooking. Covering the toppings with the cheese and then melting it locks the toppings right to the burger. They don’t slip or fall off. Perfect!


(I took the front burger off the grill to show you better what it looks like before you top it with the cheese. The finished burger is shown in the background…..and was melted on the actual grill.)



Now, lightly toast your buns on the grill and then build your burger — the patty, sliced tomatoes and lettuce. And add a dollop of the pesto mayo to your plate, in case you want a little more!




Or if you are gluten free like me, take a few lettuce leaves and wrap them around the patty and tomatoes and call it good. I find that the best lettuce to wrap your burger with is iceburg lettuce. It is the strongest and keeps all the yummy juices in without loosing half of your sandwich.

Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS...extra juicy --- Make It and Love It (in the KITCHEN)



Now get grillin’!







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Filed under Beef, Dinner, gluten free, Recipes, Sandwiches and Burgers


3 Responses to “Italian Style GRILLED HAMBURGERS (…extra juicy)”
  1. 1
    Lorena says:

    I would definitely order one of these burgers! Robin I love the way you write, it totally captures my attention and keeps me reading. Maybe its the mouth watering description or your great sense of humor, doesn’t matter, in the end I have to take a big look at the recipe. I am very interested in trying this ( and by that I mean printing the recipe and handing it to my husband). Could you tell me about grape juice concentrate? Its not an ingredient I’m familiar with or where can I find it. (and most importantly, is it an ingredient I can use again?)
    actually, that is an excellent request…a post on using an ingredient in more ways than one. How many times have I purchased an ingredient (most recently oyster sauce) and not known how to use it other than the original recipe for which I purchased it. Thank you for sharing your culinary gift, I look forward to trying this recipe out.

    • 1.1
      Robin says:

      YES! The grape juice concentrate is a can or tube in the frozen section in the supermarket. I like it because it is actual juice from the grape that has the water evaporated out. If you can’t find it, you can use regular white grape juice just add three times the amount of the concentrate and omit the TBS of water. I find when I have frozen concentrate I use a little bit and can store the rest in the freezer and have it for future meals. If I have reg juice in the fridge I or someone else drinks it and then I don’t have any when I need some. This is used any time you sautee whether it is mushrooms, onions, shrimp, fish, or chicken, etc. It is a good flavor enhancer and pulls up all the flavors off the pan. Normally a chef would use white wine, but I don’t drink alcohol so I use this instead.

  2. 2
    Shelly says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I needed a good hamburger for the 4th of July, can’t wait to try it!