4th of July Burgers


July 4, 2013 by Dewi


An all-American feast of cheeseburgers with a sweet and smokey homemade BBQ sauce, served with a great little spicy bean and corn stew.

I’ll begin by admitting to you all that I’ve not got an American bone in my body. I hear the words ‘Independence Day’ and the first thing that comes to mind is Will Smith fighting off an alien invasion! I am simply (shamelessly) using the fact that it’s the 4th of July as an excuse to make cheeseburgers in the middle of the week.

It may come as a surprise to you (it certainly did to me!) that I get a fair few hits on the blog from readers over in the States. So even though I didn’t make these burgers to celebrate Independence Day, as it were, I would hope that any foodies reading this from across the pond might get some inspiration for their traditional 4th of July cook-out.

Making your own burgers is really easy, and when you compare them to the pre made stuff, well, they just completely kick ass/arse (delete as applicable). I add cooked onion to the minced beef to add a real depth of flavour and a nice, sweet element to the burgers.

Of course the burgers are good, but what’s really special about this recipe is the homemade BBQ sauce.  I’m telling you, the satisfaction from making your own BBQ sauce is unreal. I think its because there are a million and one different recipes around, and they change so much from one to the next, so when you make your own it just feels like a real achievement. And this one tastes amazing! The smoked paprika gives a spicy, smokey warmth to the sauce, and the sweet, sticky maple syrup (apt, given that it was Canada day just a few days ago!) really sets it off. This sauce will go with almost anything, but it really makes these burgers sing. Serve these bad boys with my wild-west inspired stew of beans and corn, kick back and enjoy the fireworks. Unless you’re not in America, of course. In which case just kick back.

Spicy Bean & Corn Stew

Serves 4-6

  • 1 x 400g tin of red or black kidney beans, drained
  • 1 x 325g tin of sweet corn, drained
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 sweet red peppers, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)



Preheat the oven to 200℃/400℉/gas mark 6.

Put the peppers, onion, ground cumin and cayenne pepper into a roasting tray with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season well and give it all really good mix up with your hands.


Cook for 20 minutes before adding the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for a further 10 minutes.


Remove the veg from the oven and, with a potato masher, mash up the contents of the tray (beware of bursting tomatoes!) but be sure to keep it coarse.


Transfer to a large saucepan, place over a medium heat and add the beans and sweet corn. Add a good splash of water and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and you’ll be left with an awesome little side dish that goes perfectly with the burgers.


BBQ Sauce

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (honey or brown sugar would be fine here, too)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp water



Place a pan with a splash of olive oil over a medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 8 minutes, until softened.


Add the paprika and ground fennel. Stir and cook for 5 minutes


Add the vinegar and maple syrup to the pan. Mix well and leave to cook out for a few minutes.


Now add the ketchup, water and lemon juice and leave the sauce to reduce over a low heat for about 10 minutes until it’s lovely and sticky.


Pour into a bowl. This will keep, covered in the fridge, for a good few days.



Makes 4 burgers

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 seeded burger buns, sliced in half
  • 1 Beef tomato, sliced
  • Lettuce (however much you want in your burger)



Place a pan over a medium heat with a splash of olive oil.

Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft.


Meanwhile, put the mince, breadcrumbs and egg in a large mixing bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Add the onion to the bowl, allow to cool before mixing thoroughly.


With your hand, form two balls of equal size, then halve each of those, so you end up with 4 evenly sized balls.

Flatten each ball into a patty, roughly the same diameter as your burger buns.


Drizzle each patty with some olive oil and place on a hot griddle over a high heat (I actually used my George Foreman grill!) and cook for about 7-8 minutes each side, so the meat is charred and delicious.


Remove the burgers and place the buns on the griddle to toast.

Meanwhile, top the cooked burgers with some cheddar cheese and place under a high grill.



Onto the buns, place your lettuce, a slice of tomato and then your burger.


Now slather on that amazing BBQ sauce before placing on the top half of the bun and getting stuck in!



2 thoughts on “4th of July Burgers

  1. Dewi I wouldn’t apologise for the thinly veiled excuse to cook burgers!! We’ve had a BBQ at home because “I can’t be bothered to do the washing up from lunchtime”, or “it’s summer and it’s not raining”! Being the 4th of July is a perfectly good excuse if you ask me!!! These burgers look delicious by the way….

    • Dewi says:

      Ha! It is indeed a thinly veiled excuse! Great how we try to justify indulgence. The washing up excuse is superb!

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