Super Dad in the kitchen: Yummy (and healthy) Mini Burgers

Summer asks for barbecue. Summer asks for hanging out by the pool, going to the beach, to the park or simply having some fun family time in the backyard. A water slide maybe, a couple (and not more) beers for dad and ice-cold fresh lemonade for the little ones. Perfection!

As most of dads I also love firing up the grill and barbecuing. However I have a big problem with the quality of the ground beef we normally find in the supermarkets. Since I’ve learned the sad fact that our biggest meat distributor – Beef Products Inc. – uses a patented process to enhance the pH in beef trimmings by injecting ammonia in it. It’s a legal process (approved by the USDA) that is used to kill bacteria from those trimmings and make meat that were once only used for pet food suitable (?) for humans. You can read more about on this 2009 article published by the NY Times.

Well, I’ll pass on the ammonia, thank you.

I search for local farms that supply the smaller supermarket chains and look for a “grass fed” stamp or a “organic” seal on the package.  When I don’t know for sure I just grab my cell phone and call the 800 number on the package to ask if they use the pH enhancing process to make their ground beef. That’s what I did yesterday. I called Harris Ranch, a local beef company here in the Central Coast of California, and asked them. When they told me “no, we don’t use the ammonia process” I proceeded to buy the ground beef for the burgers.

So now let’s go to the recipe:


For the Mini Patties:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard (or spicy mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup of  grated carrots
  • ground pepper to taste (if you’re cooking this for small children go light on the ground pepper)

For the Helpings:

  • Onions (I marinated the onion rings in a mix of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and honey. It has a sweet and sour taste. Then I wrapped it in foil and put it on the grill to cook)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh Spinach (It’s better to use spinach then lettuce for nutritional reasons)
  • Mini Whole Wheat Thin Buns
  • Cheese
  • Ketchup


  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the patties in the order listed above (to make it easier). Than grab a small amount of the the mix and make the patties a little larger than the bread slices. They’ll shrink and will be perfect.
  2. For one pound of ground beef you might get about 10 patties.
  3. Fire up the grill and place the patties on the rack. Wait about 3 to 5 minutes before flipping them. (I know most dads know how to grill a burger but there might be some moms reading the recipe too)
  4. You can also lightly butter the buns and place them on the grill too.
  5. Make sure the patties are well cooked. (Kids should eat well-done burgers)
  6. Remove the cooked patties from the grill and prepare the burgers with the helpings.
  7. Enjoy!

I don’t have pictures of Lucas eating the burgers because while my wife was feeding him I was finishing preping the rest of the patties on the grill and when I came to check on him the burger was GONE! So I assume he loved it!

If you have questions or if you want to share a story, a recipe, or just say hi you can leave a comment bellow, connect via twitter @247superdad or send me an email at

Have a great weekend!



Posted on July 29, 2011, in Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. YUM! What a great idea to sneak in some spinach! Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and love that there is a foodie community! If you have time, please check out my blog: And of course! Any advice would be great 🙂

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