The Dude Diet: Burger Bust

I’m pleased to report that things in Dude Diet land have been relatively unobjectionable this week. Logan has been unusually busy with school and various other projects, which has helped divert his attention from procuring ridiculous quantities of food. However, he is about to board a plane to Chicago for the weekend to kick off Widespread Panic’s spring tour, so shit will be hitting the fan soon enough. I’m trying very hard not to think about all of the things he’s going to ingest over the next 48 hours. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

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Dude and Cheeseburger.

Logan’s impending doom trip to Chicago got me thinking about the subject of burgers, since he has been anxiously anticipating getting down with the cheeseburger at The Drake Hotel all week. Burgers, like pizza and barbecue, are one of the sharpest thorns in the Dude Diet’s side. Dudes love burgers. In fact, burgers are practically their own food group in the average dude’s diet. I can understand this because burgers are delicious. They are also on most menus, pair nicely with beer, and are very difficult to screw up.

That said, the number of burgers that I witness dudes casually consume is disturbing, and Logan is often guilty of eating upwards of 3 burgers a week. He regularly goes out to “grab a burger” with friends at a bar, he orders them at restaurants, and he starts craving them the second he’s in the vicinity of any sort of sports game (or a television playing one). Logan even makes friends over cheeseburgers. Recently, we were at a bar in Tahoe where they serve something called the “Gnar Burger,” which is basically 5 pounds of scary. A group ordered it while we were there, and Logan got so excited that he left our table to go talk to them and take pictures of their dinner. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but things got so friendly that I thought he was going to sit down with them and cut himself a piece. Awkward.

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At least he knew it wasn’t Dude Diet approved. Progress!

When it comes to hamburgers, Logan obviously isn’t crushing your basic quarter pounder. He’s going big and then he’s going home because the type of bacon and cheese-laden monstrosities that Logan prefers will knock you out. And then give you the meat sweats. If I had a nickel for every time the dude has said, “I think that burger was bad, I need to lie down,” I’d be a sizeable shareholder in Zantac.

Purely for research purposes, I asked Logan about his favorite burgers last night. After some deliberation, he said he thinks his own burgers are the best. (Like me, he’s incredibly modest.) For the record, Logan’s burgers are exactly the beasts that you would expect. They are packed with peppers and onions, which is great, but the patties are the size of his head and topped with multiple pieces of cheese. When I told Logan that his giant burgers were at least a pound each, he responded with, “Fuck yeah, they are!” Obviously, The Dude Diet’s lessons on portion-control have really sunk in.

Unfortunately, fast-food burgers are also a weakness of Logan’s. His favorite is the Double Double from In-N-Out Burger, which I’m pretty sure he thinks is healthy because it’s “all Californian and shit.” I don’t even know what that statement means, but it is absurd. Logan is also partial to the Wendy’s dollar-menu bacon cheeseburger. I was sorry I asked about it because he confessed that his Wendy’s order of choice is two of these bacon cheeseburgers, plus a five piece chicken nuggets, a frosty, and a medium fries. He then went on an upsetting tangent about chicken nuggets versus chicken selects.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

After twenty minutes of discussing burgers with Logan, I realized something horrific: Logan doesn’t think burgers are “that bad” for him. I kept waiting for him to start giggling or yell, “Psych! Everybody knows bacon cheeseburgers make you fat!” But he didn’t. He just kept looking at me with those “please don’t burst my food bubble” eyes. He knew the truth bomb was coming, and as much as I hated to drop it on him, I couldn’t let him continue living in a burger-filled fantasy world.

Here’s the dealio, dudes. Burgers are not your friend. You know I’m fine with the occasional indulgence, but you’ve got to stop inhaling these things on the reg. The problem isn’t the beef patty itself. Yes, you should limit your red meat consumption, but you also need to consider the extraneous fattening shit on and around your burger. Bacon and cheese are obvious waist-expanding add-ons, as are oversized burger buns that can pack up to 300 calories a pop. And that’s before the aforementioned bun is slathered in butter, aioli, or “special sauce.” Ironically, Logan doesn’t like mayonnaise but doesn’t seem to have a problem with aioli and special sauce on his burgers. For those of you who aren’t aware, both are mayonnaise-based. Sorry, dudes. And when was the last time you ate a burger without fries? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

If you need a cheat-sheet, here are 3 Dude Diet tips to lighten up your burger:

1. Go bun-less. If you are going to crush a lot of burgers, you’ve got to lose the bun. I know it looks lame to be eating your burger with a fork and knife, but either suck it up or order something else, dude.

2. Quit it with the bacon and cheese. While you’re at it, lose the mayo.

3. Fries or salad? Salad.

As usual, Logan got very upset when I explained these burger nutrition facts. I gently suggested that maybe he try eating more turkey burgers, to which he responded that there really isn’t that big of a difference between a beef burger and a turkey burger. Well, if you’re eating both on a white bun with bacon, cheese and side of fries, then no, it doesn’t make a huge difference whether the patty is beef or turkey. However, lean white meat does have a lot of benefits over red meat, and if you can wrap your head around some less offensively fatty toppings, turkey burgers could make all the difference in building your wonderland body.

Knowing that Logan was going to be skeptical about the transition to turkey burgers, especially without bacon and cheese, I needed to come up with something pretty spectacular to keep him from singing Cheeseburger in Paradise and crying himself to sleep. After some brainstorming, I whipped up Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Guacamole:

These aren’t your average “boring” turkey burgers. Not even close. First of all, chipotle peppers and garlic are mixed into the meat. The burgers are spicy, juicy, and don’t involve the usual high volume of tasteless breadcrumbs. You’ll also be happy to know that each patty has about 23 grams of protein and less than 2 grams of fat. Shazam.

If you’re still not sold, you may want to take a closer look at the badass toppings on these burgers. Let’s discuss the joys of guacamole and turkey bacon…

A healthy dose of zesty guacamole always brightens things up, and paired with the heat from the chipotles in these burgers, it makes for a pretty wild fiesta in your mouth. Plus, guacamole is actually packed with vitamins and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which you probably need to counteract all of the cheeseburgers you’ve consumed in the past). I know I said no bacon, but a slice of turkey bacon won’t kill you, and it adds the perfect salty crunch. Throw some fresh lettuce, tomato, and red onion into the mix, and these may just become your new favorite burger. (I’m an optimist.)

I served my burgers on some fancy sprouted grain buns that I discovered at Whole Foods. However, they would also be delicious on a whole-wheat pita, a multigrain English muffin or bundled up in your favorite low-carb tortilla. If you’re on a no-carb kick (you go, dude), I recommend lettuce-wrapping these bad boys. This recipe can be ready in less than 30 minutes, so the next time you’re craving a burger, please consider giving these a shot. It is also almost grilling season, dudes, and these chipotle turkey burgers with guacamole are a foolproof way to earn your grillmaster stripes. The Dude Diet: Battling the bulge, one turkey burger at a time.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Guacamole: (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground turkey breast
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp salt
4 sprouted grain hamburger buns, or whatever buns float your boat
For the guacamole:
1 avocado
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp minced red onion
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
For garnish: (optional)
4 slices turkey bacon
Bibb lettuce
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced

 

Preparing your turkey burgers:

-Place the ground turkey, chipotle peppers, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until all the ingredients are well combined. (Yes, this is a little gross, but it’s also fun.)

-Form the meat into patties about 1-inch thick. You can do this in advance and then cover and refrigerate your patties until you’re ready to cook them.

-Heat a grill pan or non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add your patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. (I like to put the burger buns on the grill pan or in the toaster when the burgers have about 2 minutes left to cook.)

*If using, cook your turkey bacon in a skillet while your burgers are cooking. When crispy, set on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

Preparing your guacamole:

-Scoop avocado into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the lime juice, red onion, and cilantro and mix well. Salt to taste.

-Serve your burgers topped with guacamole, turkey bacon, and your favorite garnishes and go to town, dudes.

The Dude Diet: Burger Bust

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 sprouted grain hamburger buns, or whatever buns float your boat
  • For the guacamole:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • For garnish: (optional)
  • 4 slices turkey bacon
  • Bibb lettuce
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place the ground turkey, chipotle peppers, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until all the ingredients are well combined. (Yes, this is a little gross, but it’s also fun.)
  2. Form the meat into patties about 1-inch thick. You can do this in advance and then cover and refrigerate your patties until you’re ready to cook them.
  3. Heat a grill pan or non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add your patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. (I like to put the burger buns on the grill pan or in the toaster when the burgers have about 2 minutes left to cook.)
  4. If using, cook your turkey bacon in a skillet while your burgers are cooking. When crispy, set on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  5. Preparing your guacamole:
  6. Scoop avocado into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the lime juice, red onion, and cilantro and mix well. Salt to taste.
  7. Serve your burgers topped with guacamole, turkey bacon, and your favorite garnishes and go to town, dudes.
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