Friday, July 16, 2010

The Promised Pizza Burgers

A nice lunch on the porch.

Whenever members of my family or friends are coming up for the weekend I decide to have pizza burgers for that first dinner on Friday night.  They are quick and easy to make and can be frozen ahead of time or kept in the refrigerator until time to pop in the oven for the final broil.  Hmmmmm that just gave me a thought.  I wonder if I could pop them on the grill on a hot (for here) day..... I think I have to give that a try!

This is my mom's (Pug's) recipe and she had definite ideas about certain spices, what barbecuing and picnics were, and about the quickest most efficient way to get things done.  No surprise to all the relatives who have been recruited by her to help with her many entertaining projects!  It was always about "my way or get out of the way!"

I can remember one time when she was recovering from her first heart attack and was supposed to be resting on the sofa.  ( By the way, she always insisted it was NOT a heart attack, just indigestion brought on by too much oregano in the pizza she had for dinner!  Never mind what the Doctor's said.) She had volunteered to do the food for a cousin's wedding and we were supposed to get started fixing it while she supervised from the sofa!  Well, that lasted about as long as it took for us to get our hands washed and get the tools ready!  I was to make the relish plate and before I could even begin, she was standing beside me, pushing me aside with her elbow and hip and grabbing the paring knife from my hand to show me EXACTLY what I was to do!  That's how it always went with her.  She was the expert and a professional and she expected everything to be perfect!  I did learn a lot from her and I'm afraid I may become that way as I am growing older, too!

My niece Gaby has permanent scars from that same episode!  She was in charge of the Chicken Salad and was sick with the stomach flu.  Mom's theory always was that we could think our way out of sickness so the show must go on and Gaby had to make that salad!  To this day Gaby does not prepare or eat any type of poultry!  There are many more Pug stories out there and I have a few more to tell at a later date! 

Back to the pizza burgers.  Mom also made these whenever she was expecting a crowd and not knowing exactly when they would arrive.  She modified them a little after her "heart attack" and cut out most of the oregano.  I  put it back in so it tastes more like pizza again!  Make lots of these especially if you have teen aged boys planning on eating them.  They go quickly!

Pug's Pizza Burgers
2 lbs. ground beef (we, of course, use Open A Bar 2 natural grass fed beef raised on Danny's farm in Nebraska.  You may have to sacrifice and use whatever you can get!)
1 small bottle of catsup, I'm thinking about 8-10 oz. (1 -1 1/4 C.)
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. dried sweet basil leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder* depends on how garlicy you want it
1/4-1/2 tsp onion powder*
16 hamburger bun halves
12 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded. Can use more if you like it cheesy
*  my additions


Brown the ground beef and drain the grease.  Add the seasonings and the whole bottle of catsup.  At this point I put the bun halves on a cookie sheet and put them under a broiler until lightly browned.  ( I think it keeps the meat sauce from soaking into the bun too much) Mom just used the buns as is, speedier, I guess.  Cover each bun half on the cookie sheet with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with the cheese and I press it down kind of so it doesn't get all over the cookie sheet and stays on the bun.  At this point you can cover the cookie sheet with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them or store in refrigerator for later cooking.  If frozen, thaw before baking (I don't and it seems to work out OK).  Bake at 400 degrees F.  until cheese is melted and bubbly about 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

I am going to try doing these on the grill.  If it works I'll let you know how I did it!

I usually make a big batch of au gratin potatoes to go with these for company. (That is the standard thing my mom did too)  I think potato salad or macaroni salad would be good too.  Also serve a tossed green salad with it. 

I have added Parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella and also have used cheddar when I didn't have anything else!  I think you could put mushrooms, olives, onions, etc on the meat sauce before the cheese too.

I don't have any hamburger buns for pictures so I am going to use hot dog buns--which I have to do often, hehehe.

Brown the hamburger in a sauce pan or, if you are like Pug, spread the meat on a cookie sheet and brown it in a 400 degree oven.

My meat is browning nicely in my heavy-duty sauce pan.
Meanwhile assemble your seasonings.  I added a few.  Pizza seasoning and Italian seasoning work fine, too.  The catsup is a 24 oz. bottle so the amount in it is about right--1 1 1/4 cup.
I let the meat sauce simmer while I get the cheese ready and toast the buns.

Shred the cheese if you didn't get already shredded stuff!
I toasted these buns in the oven broiler.
Toasting these buns on the grill.  It worked fine.
Grill-toasted buns.
Spread the meat sauce on the toasted buns.
Ready to bake or freeze.
Baking on the grill they only took about 2-3 minutes.  My grill is old and only has 1 setting--HOT.
Made on the grill.  Note, watch carefully, I burnt the bottoms of the buns!
Bob's lunch out on the porch.  I scraped the burnt off the bottom of the buns!

The hummingbird has his lunch too.


  1. Thanks Penny,
    That's going to be dinner on Sunday. Sure do miss your mom! Especially since this is the Struble reunion weekend. Thanks again.
    Bob Duracky

  2. Mama I guess you will have to make the Pizza burgers for Jim and I next weekend. Hehehe! I will be sure to stay away from the hip and elbow action that has been passed down from Pug.


  3. I sure remember the hip and elbow action. I got sent straight out of the kitchen with that move.