I suspect that many who consider themselves foodies may occasionally view holidays as both good and bad.  On the one hand, yay for a holiday!  Occasions to spend time with people you love, and that nearly always center around food of some kind.  However, so many holidays have “classic” foods associated with them, it can leave little room for creativity or experimentation.  Ham at Easter, turkey at Thanksgiving, cookies upon cookies at Christmas.  And Memorial Day – well, obviously it’s going to involve grilling.  Likely hamburgers, hot dogs, or maybe barbecue chicken.  Probably potato salad.  That’s certainly not to imply that I don’t enjoy some of the classic fare or that I’m too snooty for that stuff (puh-lease…I love me some deviled eggs!)  But the classics don’t always get the foodie part of my brain excited.

This burger is my answer for any foodies who feel similarly about the upcoming holiday weekend.  You can still get your grill on and satisfy the urge to experiment…or of late, my urge to use goat cheese in nearly every meal. This may not look all that special on the surface, but let me tell you – herbed goat cheese, red onion jam, and basil aioli are involved, and they make this burger ah-mazing.  This is my homemade version of a burger from the best burger place in Indy.  Their menu has all sorts of interesting, jazzed up burgers.  I’ve tried the majority of them and this is by far my favorite.  It may sound fancy and complex, but you can make the red onion jam and the aioli in the time it takes your grill to heat up.  It’s totally worth the little bit of extra effort required.  (Oh and be forewarned – the aioli is addictively good.  Make some homemade fries to dip in it and let me know what time I should be over.)  I hope you all have an awesome three day weekend!  Be safe, have fun, and wear sunscreen!


For the burgers: 
1¼ lbs. ground beef or ground sirloin
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

For the red onion jam: 
1 tbsp. butter
1 large red onion (or 2 small), thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup red wine (I used pinot noir)

For the aioli: 
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 clove garlic
1 large egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. coarse salt
6 tbsp. canola oil
6 tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To assemble: 
Hamburger buns, split
Garlic herb goat cheese (about 2 oz.)


  • 01

    To make the burgers, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire in a large bowl.  Stir or knead together just until evenly mix.  Form into four patties about 1 inch thick with an indentation in the center.   Meanwhile, heat a grill to medium-high heat.

  • 02

    To make the red onion jam, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onions, sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and they begin to brown.  Add about half of the red wine to the pan and let cook down, soaking into the onions.  Once the wine has been well absorbed, stir in the second half of the wine.  Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until well softened and all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes total.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • 03

    To make the aioli, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add in the egg, lemon juice and salt and pulse briefly to combine.  With the food processor running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until a thick aioli has formed.  (This can likely also be done in a blender or with an immersion blender, or even with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease.)

  • 04

    When the grill is heated, cook the patties to your liking, turning once.  Remove the finished patties to a plate and let rest briefly.  Meanwhile, place the split burger buns on the grill, cut side down, and let toast just briefly until golden brown.  Remove from the grill.  Spread a layer of the herbed goat cheese on the warmed buns.  Assemble the burgers with lettuce, the basil aioli and the red onion jam.  Serve immediately.


  • Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner

    Yes, I remember suggesting to my family that we do something different for Christmas one year besides ham, and they looked at me like I had three heads. We had ham. I love all the different aiolis you make–they look great!

  • Lisa Stough

    When I was in Indy for a conference last year, we ate at But Burger Bar. Loved it! Can’t wait to try this one!

  • This looks amazing! Red onion jam–what a great idea!

  • Love these burgers! Wow!

  • Caroline L.

    I’m about to go get In-N-Out; honestly, after seeing this picture, I’m drooling and any burger will do!

  • Elizabeth Waterson

    The basil aioli sounds ridiculously amazing

  • Elizabeth

    This is probably a silly question, but as someone who’s never made aioli… do you need to do anything to the egg? Does some magic happen to reduce the risk of salmonella?

  • Kim Mingledorff Stebbins

    The foodie in me is loving that red onion jam and I can’t wait to try it! But please know that deviled eggs can be a foodie delight– my “foodie” law school son and I ( it was rushed because he’s in the middle of exams) had a fabulous appetizer of White Truffle Deviled Eggs at an upscale Czech restaurant ( I know that sounds odd, but it was surprisingly delightful, with items like homemade sausages, flatbreads, and entrees such as salmon on a bed a bed of white beans) and I thought “oh my– deviled eggs have evolved” and now I am thinking about deviled eggs with caviar…
    PS It’s called The Pantry, in Little Rock. A charming place with great food, priced well below what I anticipated.

  • annieseats

    Oh yes, I know there are so many great foodie variations on deviled eggs but no matter how many I try, the classic is still my favorite. I think I’m just a deviled egg purist :) But, it never stops me from trying the variations. I haven’t had a white truffle one though – that sounds awesome!

  • annieseats

    If you are pregnant or immunocompromised, you should use pasteurized egg. But for the rest of us in good health, it should be no problem to eat raw egg in aioli, salad dressing, etc.

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks so much for the reply! I did some reading about it on my own, too- I never realized it was so ‘not a big deal.’ This also makes me feel much better about my cookie dough consumption :) Looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  • Yummers! I actually went ahead and pinned this to my “Favorite Recipes” Pinterest board because it’s just that worthy :) Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Natalie Perry

    I have those same feelings, but never knew how to put it into words. Well said! I’ve been dying for a good, homemade burger lately, but suffering from indecision. I think I’ve made up my mind now! Gotta love local burger places.

  • Kim Mingledorff Stebbins

    What is your classic version? I grew up ( in Middle Tennessee) on egg yolk, mayo, a pinch of Coleman’s dry mustard, finely chopped sweet pickles ( the little ones, Mama called them gherkins) and a little splash of the pickle juice + salt and white pepper to taste. Always topped with Hungarian sweet paprika. I can eat a dozen easily!

  • nessa

    Yes please!

  • Bianca

    I made this recipe last night and it was AMAZING!!!!!

  • Angela

    Thank you for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it… Bru’s Provencal and bbq nachos are my favorites!!!

  • So, so , so amazing! I made some tonight and linked to you on my website. http://www.laurensconcepts.com/2013/06/09/caramelized-onion-aioli-burgers/

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I’m not a turkey burger lover but I made these for my husband and the addition of the aioli and red onion jam made them just ok for me. Today I made a panini with sliced deli turkey, lettuce, tomato and the rest of the red onion jam and slathered the bread with the aioli and, well, it was just like, wow! I think that is how I will use these two delightful condiments in the future.