In the pursuit of better burgers, backyard grillers and restaurant chefs alike are constantly experimenting with seasoning and condiment combinations to improve on the classic hamburger. One of these varieties is the ranch burger. Ranch burgers are hamburgers prepared in some way with a ranch-type dressing or rub. The addition of ranch gives a new and unique taste to a plain hamburger and enhances the flavor.
Ranch is a common flavor of salad dressings, dipping sauce and crunch snack flavoring. What started as a dressing developed by Hidden Valley Ranch in 1954, ranch has become a staple condiment and is used to flavor a variety of recipes, including ranch burgers. Ranch is essentially a combination of buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise along with a seasoning combination of herbs and spices, the most consistent of which is garlic. It’s not hard to see the appeal of adding something both creamy and seasoned to meat used for making burgers.
The recipes for ranch burgers vary by ingredients and cooking methods, but they always contain a ranch dressing — usually a dry mix — in either a prepared or homemade version. The inclusion of ranch flavor may come in the form of a rub for formed patties or as a stir-in addition to the ground meat. In some cases, it is both. The most preferred method of cooking ranch burgers appears to be grilling, but broiling and frying are viable options as well. The seasoning from herbs and spices varies to include garlic, onion, and paprika, white and black pepper, and sometimes parsley.
The flavoring of ranch burgers is fairly distinct and as such, may warrant a change in usual condiments to compliment the flavor. Tomato and lettuce are good choices and if cheese is desired, a sharp flavor like cheddar may be best. By its very nature and composition, ranch dressing mix is made to attract liquid, usually resulting in a juicy burger. If the burger is dry, prepared ranch dressing can always be added as a condiment prior to eating, but cooking methods should be appropriately adjusted for subsequent burgers.
Experimenting with preparation methods can be rewarding, but no matter which recipe is used for making ranch burgers make certain to follow food safety and cooking guidelines for the meat used.