Chicken burgers are a satisfying alternative to the ubiquitous beef burger. Chicken has fewer calories, less fat than beef and, with its mild, neutral taste, more seasoning combinations to choose from . The key to making a great chicken burger is seasoning. The basic chicken burger seasonings are the same as beef burgers, but there are many variations that work particularly well with chicken.
Even if you’re trying to make a standard chicken burger with no frills, you still need basic seasoning. Start with a good balance of salt, paprika, oregano and fresh ground pepper. You may need to try a few recipes and experiment with the proportions of each spice to get the right balance. Usually a few pinches of each is all it takes to season a pound of ground chicken. Fresh minced garlic and onion can be added, or you can use the powdered versions. A dash of lemon juice helps to bring out the natural chicken flavor.
To give your chicken burger a spicy kick, consider using some hot pepper seasoning. Using hot pepper sauce, which is typically used in Buffalo-style chicken burgers, will definitely raise the heat level. Red and green chili, either minced or in powdered form, will also add to the level of spice, as will fresh jalapenos. Curry powder, while not as hot as hot pepper sauce or red chili, can also give your burgers that spice you desire.
Indian, Japanese and other Asian flavor palettes are often incorporated into chicken burgers. Ginger and soy sauce can be used to give your chicken burgers that sweet and salty taste often used in stir-fries. Sesame oil, hosin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and wasabi are other options to give your burgers an East Asian flavor. For Indian chicken burgers, consider using curry, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.
Chicken is a versatile protein, and the seasoning options for chicken burgers are really endless. Try a Jamaican jerk chicken burger with barbecue sauce, all spice, fresh pineapple and thyme. You could also consider a Mediterranean-style chicken burger with basil, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Remember the burger patty itself is just one element in the burger experience. Experiment with different cheeses, buns, vegetables and condiments.
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Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.