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Silly Dilly Glazed Ham Burgers

Ham loaf seems to be a regional food found in parts of Iowa and South Dakota, so growing up it was common to find it for Sunday dinner at home, the school cafeteria or even the local homestyle diner. Outside of the area, people think we're crazy eating ground up ham! But with a little extra "doctoring" it's really pretty good. Warning--skip the food service stuff you DO find on the diner menu! It comes frozen in a big foil pan and has no taste. The ham loaf we use is something only a few butchers know about. You can also make your own, which I've done here to make this recipe totally original and sublimely silly! But oh so good. If it's too cold (hey, this IS South Dakota) to grill out you can always cook it as mini meatloaves or meatballs in the oven and have the most heavenly aroma fill your house. Make sure you aren't expecting someone you don't like, or you'll have a tough time getting them to leave...


Honey Dill Glaze:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 cup mustard
1 1/2 pounds ground ham
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 cup finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup finely crushed soda (saltine) cracker crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup Pinot Noir
Vegetable oil for greasing grill rack
6 large (about 4") firm-textured buns, sliced


Pre-heat grill to medium high. To make glaze: In a small mixing bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, ground mustard, dill weed, and mustard. Stir to completely dissolve sugar; set aside. To make patties: In a large bowl, combine ground ham, ground pork, kosher salt, black pepper, dill seed, graham cracker crumbs, soda cracker crumbs, egg and 1/4 cup Pinot Noir. With a plastic-gloved hand, mix just to combine without overworking. Divide mixture into 6 patties, approximately 4" in diameter and 1" thick. Brush tops of burgers with glaze; turn over and glaze second side. When grill is heated, brush grill rack lightly with vegetable oil. Place burgers on rack and close cover. Cook for about 5 minutes; reglaze second sides of burgers and turn over. Glaze tops, close cover and cook another 5 minutes. Turn and re-glaze again just before removing from grill, but do not press down on burgers. Just before burgers are done, brush cut sides of buns with a little vegetable oil and put on rack to heat. Remove to plate. To assemble burgers, place one burger on each bun bottom. Top with bun top and serve with leftover Pinot Noir for drinking!


It is terribly silly that anything this yummy could be so easy. The wine helps bring out the flavor of the ham, so it really is important to include it. Enjoy a glass while grilling, or save it to savor while eating your burger!