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Burgers made with meatloaf

Burgers made with meatloaf

It’s getting to be the time of year when meatloaf becomes a staple at least once a month, if not more frequently. Growing up in the Midwest meant I never went hungry or got sick of meatloaf. One of my favorite Wisconsin restaurant gigs was creating a bison meatloaf with Mexican chorizo to increase the amount of fat and taste. Both the diners and the cooks enjoyed it.

Now that life has returned to normal, I find it difficult to set aside an hour or more each evening to bake a meatloaf. So why combine the tenderness of meatloaf with the ease of cooking associated with burgers? By forming the ingredients into patties, the cooking time is cut in half to 15 minutes, and each mouthful is also crisp and delicious. Everyone seems to receive the deliciously crunchy and flavorful end portions that are highly sought after.

After the meat combination has rested, I place it in the refrigerator to chill down (and firm up) to ensure that the oat mixture is hydrated and to keep the soft burgers together. If you prepare the beef mixture in the morning or the night before, you may have dinner burgers ready to go.

Instead of using bread or breadcrumbs, I opted for oats in these meatloaf patties so that they would be gluten-free. I enjoy eating these with a fork and knife off of butter lettuce leaves but feel free to put them on a bun if that’s your preference.

The meat mixture in this recipe includes the standard meatloaf addition of ketchup. The sugar in the ketchup makes for a rich, aromatic crust when searing the patties, and the resulting meatloaf has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I discovered that some mayonnaise and browned mushrooms were the ideal complements to the flavorful burgers. Use any condiments you like best. Every meatloaf (and burger) eater has their preferred condiment combination. That’s why these time-honored meals taste so good.



  • Traditional oats, half a cup
  • Milk, either whole or 2%; 1/4 cup
  • Two little eggs
  • Amount: 3 tbsp ketchup
  • Two teaspoons of horseradish
  • Paprika, smoked, 1/2 tsp.
  • Split into 1 and 14 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  • Approximately 2 ounces of tiny carrots.
  • One shallot, medium
  • Parmesan cheese, 1 ounce (equal to 1/2 cup of freshly grated or 1/3 cup of pre-grated cheese)
  • 1 pound of 80% lean ground beef chuck
  • Cremini mushrooms, 8 ounces
  • Three Tablespoons of Olive Oil, Separated


  • Four rolls, either potato or brioche
  • Leafy Bibb Lettuce, Pickled Cucumber, Tomato SliversMayonnaiseMustardKetchup


  1. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk, one big egg, three tablespoons of ketchup, one tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of smoky paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a flexible spatula to stir the mixture until it is the color of pale pink, and the egg has been fully absorbed. Leave the ingredients alone for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the carrot and shallot by peeling them and chopping them finely to provide approximately 1/2 cup each. Prepare 1 ounce of grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup packed) or 1/3 cup of pre-grated Parmesan.
  3. Stir in the carrots, shallots, and Parmesan to the oat mixture. Incorporate a pound of ground beef and half a teaspoon of kosher salt. Use your hands to stir the ingredients together. For best results, cover and chill for 4-10 hours.
  4. Ten minutes at room temperature will do the pork combination good. Eight ounces of cremini mushrooms should be sliced about a third of an inch thick.
  5. Split the meat into four servings, each weighing about 7 1/2 ounces. Make patties with each of them that are 4 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches thick. In a large frying pan (at least 12 inches in diameter), heat two tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Place the patties in a single layer on the pan (you may need to fry them in batches). Leave the lid off, or slightly ajar, to release some steam. Please don’t touch them for 4 or 5 minutes or until the bottoms are golden.
  6. Then, turn the patties over and put the top back on slightly ajar. Continue cooking for another 4-7 minutes, or until the second side is deeply browned and the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit using an instant-read thermometer. If they are browning too soon, lower the heat accordingly. Move to a serving dish.
  7. To the same pan (no need to clean it), add the mushrooms, one tablespoon of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Until the mushrooms are golden brown, which should take about 5 to 7 minutes, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring regularly and scraping up the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan as the mushrooms release moisture.
  8. Top each patty with mushrooms and any other toppings and condiments you choose, then serve on a bed of bibb lettuce or a hamburger bun.
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