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Beef burger for hamburger on barbecue flame grill. / Getty Images/iStock/BreakingTheWalls

I'm fresh off a trip to Montana where I rode the Southeast Montana Burger Trail, and what a mouthwatering ride it was!

From Billings to Broadus and miles beyond, the trail takes a 1,000-mile loop through Big Sky country, finding the best burgers in unexpected bars, mom-and-pop eateries and other burger joints that were once only known by the locals.

Now that the Burger Trail is an official thing, the secret is out, and tourists are finding this part of Montana has more to offer than they ever knew.

One takeaway I got from traveling the Burger Trail is that an ordinary burger simply won't make it in this day of culinary creativity. People are demanding more, and Montana delivers. Montana is a leading producer of beef, so chefs have a lot to play with, and their burgers have become a thing of wonder.

There are 24 stops on the Southeast Montana Burger Trail, and burger toppings range from traditional cheese, tomato, onions and lettuce to more adventurous add-ons, such as mango salsa, jalapeno cream cheese and huckleberry-hatch chili barbecue sauce. It was an amazing thing to learn about all the different ways a burger can be served.

If you can't make it out to Montana right away, here's a different way to serve your burgers this Fourth of July. This recipe has been around for a while in different incarnations, but whenever I make it people are always trying to guess what I've added to the meat mixture. And they are surprised when I tell them it's nothing more than sour cream. There's just something about the creaminess and the texture of the burger that's always a hint. It's really different, much like the burgers one may experience on the Southeast Montana Burger Trail.

 

Sour Cream Burgers

2 pounds ground beef

1 packet onion soup mix

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

3-4 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

Topping:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon adobo sauce

1 chili in adobo sauce, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together beef with remaining patty ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 15 minutes while you make the topping and heat up the grill.

To make the topping, combine all ingredients and refrigerate.

Remove meat mixture from refrigerator, and form into 4-6 patties. Grill to desired doneness, then place on buns and top with sour cream topping and whatever other toppings you desire, such as pickles, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and onions.

 

NEW ON THE MARKET

Former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw knows how to do more than just play a darn good game of football. He's now in the burger business, and his Bradshaw Ranch Thick N Juicy Burgers are amazingly delicious, far better than any frozen beef patties I've tried before.

Bradshaw collaborated with his son-in-law Noah Hester, an award-winning chef, to create beef patties made with Bradshaw's Angus beef. The patties are 1/3 pound each and come in three flavors: cheddar cheese and bacon; cheddar cheese; and garlic and butter. Just take them directly from the freezer, throw them on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet and they're ready in minutes. You can pick some up at Aldi, Food City, Publix, Walmart and Sam's Clubs, too.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com or annebraly.com.

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Anne Braly
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