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Better Burgers with Bitters (Angostura!)

Wow! I cannot quell my enthusiasm for using bitters in the kitchen. Angostura bitters adds such a punch of flavor to so many everyday foods, that I’m riding high on the possibilities. Hence, the burger recipe here, which I’ve added to my collection of all-time favorite burgers. The other I shared with you last summer, my Divinely Delicious Burgers.

I got turned on to the power and versatility of using bitters when asked to develop recipes for a client. Ever since, I’ve been a disciple!  Angostura bitters is something like a fish sauce (in usage, not taste-wise) that you use to enhance flavor and add another dimension—another layer of flavor.

If you yearn for dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee, you will love Angostura. And if you do nothing else, at least try Angostura bitters in ketchup. Stir in a few drops, then taste and add more if you want (see my ratio in the recipe here).  Please let me know what you think of the burgers. Likes and dislikes are all welcome.  (ps: Look for my grilled vegetables with Angostura mayonnaise — coming soon.)

Print This Recipe
Makes 8 burgers 

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
2 Tbsps. each minced celery, onion, green bell pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tsp. Angostura Aromatic Bitters
1/2 cup ketchup *
1 tsp. Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Place ground beef in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, celery, onion, green pepper, thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over meat in two batches, cutting into meat with the side of a large spoon.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together milk, egg, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons Angostura bitters. (It’s okay if the milk mixture curdles a bit.) Gradually fold into meat. Form into 8 patties.

For topping, stir together ketchup and 1 tsp. Angostura bitters.*  Grill hamburgers (or pan-fry) until cooked as desired, 4-5 minutes per side grilled on medium-high heat. Serve burgers topped with Angostura-laced ketchup.

* Ketchup topping may be doubled.

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories, 24g protein, 11g carb, 16g fat, (6g sat. fat), 105mg chol, 610mg sodium, 0g fiber

Recipe by Rita Held     Photo by Suzanne Carrerio 

For more ways to use Angostura, take a look at the short video from the New Orleans Tales of the Cocktail conference two weeks ago. I describe our luncheon menu at about the 1:15 minutes mark.

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  1. Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Rita – Angostura Bitters in foods is new to me but it is certainly a ‘hot’ ingredient now. I just tried your ketchup recommendation and love it!

    • Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the feedback, Rosemary. What did you use the bitters ketchup on?

  2. Posted August 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Now, that is fascinating. I never thought to cook with bitters, just to add to cocktails. Must experiment now. 😉

    • Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Great Carolyn! Experiment away, and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from someone other than myself :o)

  3. Jeri
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Awesome issue (or whatever you call it)!
    Great looking recipes.
    Love you,

    • Posted August 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jeri. Let me know what you think of the burgers and Angostura-laced ketchup. Note that I increased the minced veggies just a little in the meat mixture. Also, if you use a very lean beef (7%), you may not need quite as much dry breadcrumbs. xo Rita

  4. Nicole Kidman's
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    That burger look so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe and ingredients,i can’t wait to try this at home.

    • Posted August 9, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      When you do try the recipe, let me know if you liked the burgers (and the ketchup!).

  5. Alison Negrin
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    These sound really good. Maybe also with ground lamb? However I love the sound of Angostura Bitters burgers. The blog is great. Recipes short and concise and interesting. Nutitional analyses is important.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Alison, thanks for the feedback. Please please let me know if you try the burgers! — and the ketchup. Your chef’s perspective would be interesting to hear. Next week or so, I’ll do a recipe for grilled vegetables with a tasty mayonnaise drizzle; both use Angostura bitters to add flavor depth. Rita

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