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Rocky Mountain Food Tours

Burgers have been a mainstay at American tables for generations.

You’ve probably tried a classic version: ground beef between two pieces of bread with your choice of condiments and garnishes. This staple food makes a great base for you to unleash your inner chef. There are so many mouthwatering and creative ways that you can jazz the burger up. Here are a few classic burger updates, whether you’re dining out or cooking at home:

 

1. Spice Up the Burger With Green Chili Magic

Classic Burger Updates
Photo Courtesy of Bingo Burger

What’s one of Colorado Springs’ most iconic garnishes? Pueblo Green Chilies. This colorful pepper has a delicious blend of tangy heat and smoky richness, making it a staple throughout the region. These chilies are grown locally and you can pick some up at a nearby farmer’s market. Do you want to taste how area chefs are using this vibrant ingredient? Visit Bingo Burger and build your own burger with a hearty scoop of green chilies.

At Home Tips: Green chilies make a fairly wet condiment, so you’ll need to take steps to keep your bun from getting soggy. Drain the chilies of excess moisture, mix chopped peppers with ground beef so the meat absorbs the liquid, or grill and slice them.

 

2. Explore New Meat Frontiers

Classic Burger Updates
Photo Courtesy of Phantom Canyon

A burger can be just as delicious when filled with a hearty non-beef patty. Nontraditional meats offer a host of health benefits: they are usually grass-fed, lean, and non-GMO. They come in flavors ranging from delicate to bold and, in ground form, are a great way to dip your toe into the world of more unusual protein.

Would you like to eat like the pioneers and chow down on a bison burger?  Phantom Canyon Brewing Co offers a juicy take on this with their Colorado Bison Patty Melt.  Wash down the intense, complex flavors of this classic meat with a cold one; they recommend their Boxcar Amber.

At Home Tips: If you’re feeling inspired to fire up the BBQ, swing by a Sprouts market to pick up a selection of exotic meats. Cuts of elk, boar, or rabbit are generally more beginner-friendly, but exotic meat like alligator or kangaroo can be delicious, too. One general tip: these meats tend to be lean and dry out quickly, so marinate first and keep an eye on them as they cook.

 

3. Try a Meat-Free Options

Classic Burger Updates
Photo Courtesy of Santana’s Vegan Grill | Facebook Page

Whether your vegetarian or just staying away from red meat, there are tons of great meatless burger options! Protein comes in many forms, and sometimes it’s good to feel a little more healthy when you’re diving in on your juicy burger.

Colorado Springs also has a thriving meat-free culinary scene. Santana’s Vegan Grill offers you a relaxed casual dining experience with drive-through and a meat-free menu. Here you can bite into vegan takes on everything from chicken sliders to buffalo strips and even a deluxe bacon cheeseburger.

At Home Tips: Meat-free burgers can be fun to experiment with at home. Popular ideas include lentil burgers, chickpea patties, and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Consider using egg or flaxseed and water to bind everything together. Of course, you can also try marinating tofu or pressing herb mixes into strips of seitan. With a gentle touch and low heat, these can be grilled as well.

 

4. Love Beer? Love Burgers? Combine the Two!

Classic Burger Updates
Photo Courtesy of Shamrock Brewing Company

Craft beers go great with a traditional burger and can really transform the flavor experience. Hop in the car for a quick trip to nearby Pueblo, Colorado, and you’ll see what the Shamrock Brewing Company has been up to. They offer a number of options including the Shamrock’s Angus Burger and a Buffalo Burger. You can pair these with the seven craft beers on tap. Make sure to bring your appetite!

At Home Tips: For the ‘home-brewed’ experience, experiment with the many recipes that incorporate beer into the burger mix itself. These let you infuse the simple base flavor of the meat with the hoppy, herbal, smoky, or fruity tones of the brew you choose.

However, it would be a tragedy to just dump a Bud Lite into the mixing bowl. Instead, track down some complex craft beers from local breweries like Bristol Brewing Company. This favorite among Colorado Springs locals offers a wide array of brews to please any taste buds. Fun fact: For a quick sip on the go, they keep a kiosk at the Colorado Springs airport.

 

5., 6., 7., and 8. Quick Ways to Jazz Up a Burger

Sometimes you don’t want to pull out the stand mixer or fire up the BBQ. Sometimes you just want a flavor infusion in a hurry. Here’s a few options:

5. Create spicy mayo by mixing in chipotle, sriracha, or black bean sauce

6. Add flavor-rich cheese like blue, goat, or gruyere cheese

7. Top the burger with olives and sun-dried tomatoes

8. Add citrus through a grilled pineapple slice or squeeze of lemon

 

Now that we’ve whet your appetite, go and create your own craft burger in the comfort of your home or head out to one of our favorite local restaurants. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer with one of America’s favorite foods!

Cheers, Your Rocky Mountain Food Tours Team

(So, what’s a food tour, anyway…?)

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