I stumbled onto these burgers at Whole Foods Market last summer, after a long day of staring at a computer.

I rarely succumb to pre-made meat dishes because I know I can make them at home — where it would be fresher and, I’m sure, better.

And, really, a hamburger patty? How tough is that to make?

But there it was in the meat case, with bits of jalapeño, bacon and Cheddar, calling my name. And I was on my way home, tired and hungry, and let’s face it, vulnerable in the food department.

So I bought the burger. In fact, I bought several because I had family coming to dinner. Then I purchased the brioche buns on the stand nearby, because who doesn’t want a better bun for a burger? (There’s a reason product placement works.)

Once these burgers were slapped on the grill, then devoured, I knew this was my new go-to burger.

Next time around, I bought ground beef, then doctored it up myself, after a quick look online to see if I had left out any critical ingredients.

To test out these burgers, I turned to those same hungry family members who had wolfed down the earlier version.

“These are even better,” they mumbled with their mouths full.

Burger after burger, I made these all summer long. Occasionally I would walk past the meat counter to see if the pre-made versions were still there, but I never saw them again.

No matter. Now I make these burgers at home. But I buy those brioche buns at the store.


Lee Svitak Dean is the Star Tribune’s Taste editor. Follow her on Twitter at @StribTaste.

Cowboy Burgers

Makes 4.

Note: Add more or less cheese, jalapeños and onion, as you prefer. For more heat, use serrano peppers. Bonus points if you toast the bun! Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

• 4 to 6 slices bacon, diced

• 1 lb. ground beef

• 1/3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

• 1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded, deveined and diced, with a few whole slices for garnish (see Note)

• 1/4 c. minced onion

• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

• Butter

• 4 hamburger buns


Cook bacon and cool. Gently combine ground beef with bacon, cheese, diced jalapeños, onion, salt and pepper. Gently form meat mixture into 4 patties. Butter the cut side of buns.

Over direct heat with a hot grill, toast buns lightly (either directly on rack or on a grill pan). Remove and add burgers; cook until desired doneness. Serve on buns, garnished with jalapeño slices.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 465 Fat 28 g Sodium 510 mg

Carbohydrates 24 g Saturated fat 13 g Total sugars 3 g

Protein 30 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 4 medium-fat protein, 1 ½ fat.