Perfect Burger Spices

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While many cooks may claim to know how to make the perfect burger, there are as many possibilities as their are ingredients in the world, so it would be impossible to settle on one ideal recipe. Seasoning the hamburger meat is an important step in developing a burger's flavor, and while there may not be a set combination of perfect burger spices, there are some spice mixes that are guaranteed to add deliciousness.

Salt & Pepper

  • Salt and pepper are absolutely indispensable when seasoning a burger, and for the purist, they are all that's necessary for a flavorful patty. Add pepper whenever you like, but never add salt to your burger until the last possible moment -- salt sucks out moisture and dissolves proteins, so the longer it sits in contact with the beef, the more it affects the meat's texture. The type of salt used is dependent on taste: kosher salt, sea salt, fine or coarse grind, even smoked or flavored salts can work. Pepper should be freshly ground, not powdered, and can be from just black peppercorns or a medley. No matter what else you use to flavor your burger, never forget the salt and pepper.

Italian Flair

  • For a burger with an Italian flavor, add a mix of dried garlic, oregano, thyme, basil and crushed rosemary. A burger made with these spices goes well topped with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and garlic aioli.

Indian Spice

  • Adding Indian spices gives you a truly unique burger flavor experience. You can use pre-made curry powder or garam masala, or make your own blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, chili powder, ginger, mustard, fenugreek and pepper. Making curry powder from scratch can seem daunting, but the flavors will be more intense.

Cajun Heat

  • Cajun spices pack heat and flavor into every bite of a burger. Use a pre-made mix, or make your own by combining dried garlic, onion powder, white and black pepper, hot and sweet paprika, thyme and oregano. Adjust the heat by adding more or less pepper and paprika.

Asian Fusion

  • Soy sauce is a flavorful addition to hamburger meat, but it is extremely salty, so don't add it too soon. Mix with wasabi powder, sesame seeds and Szechuan peppercorns for an Asian-inspired burger with a kick.

Southwest Style

  • To create a burger with an earthy, spicy Latin flavor, use a pre-made Southwestern-style spice mix. To make your own, combine dried garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, cayenne and crushed red pepper. Top this burger with avocado and chopped cilantro.

The Classic

  • While all of these spice mixes are flavorful and delicious, sometimes too much spice and heat can overwhelm the taste buds. For days when you just want a basic burger, but want a little more flavor than just plain beef, combine crushed peppercorns, dried garlic, onion powder and a pinch of paprika. Add to the meat, form patties and liberally sprinkle with salt just before cooking.

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