Gumbo burgers

Colorful and flavorful, gumbo burgers have the taste of gumbo, but without the soupy consistency. These are easy to eat on a warm, June evening. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

If you like gumbo, you should find this salute to it, but in burgers with the roux drizzled on them or used as a dipping sauce, to be an excellent alternative way to enjoy the flavor. This isn’t a soupy dish like gumbo, but tasty burgers complemented by a gumbo roux. If you have a good imagination for food, you should be able to imagine the taste, but it’s actually better than what you can imagine. You really do have to taste it to realize what a treat these burgers are.

June nights are usually very comfortable for cooking outdoors, so take advantage whenever possible. If the mosquitos and gnats try to crash the party, firing up a Thermacell or two and judiciously using a little Skin So Soft will send them looking for other snacks, allowing you to enjoy the cool evening and some great food.

This requires a burner to cook the burgers and make the roux, but the side burners on most grills make enough heat. I haven’t tried cooking the burgers on a grill yet, but that could be an option for a later date. If someone would like to try it and give me a report, I’d appreciate it.

OK, here we go…Family, friends, a nice June evening, some fresh shrimp, a little smoked sausage, some peppers and onions and your favorite cold beverage. Does it get any better? Maybe, but this ranks right up there near the top. I hope you decide to give gumbo burgers a try. They’re a bit different and they’re definitely tasty. 

Gumbo burgers

I like gumbo and readily eat it all year, but during the warmer days of spring, summer and early fall, it’s a bit more difficult to enjoy its warm soupy consistency in the heat. 

Gumbo has always been a way for me to combine smaller amounts of meat, with peppers, onions and okra in a roux that makes the combination far better than the individual parts. This breaks that down and cooks the meat and veggies in a burger, and then uses a roux for a drizzle or dipping sauce. It doesn’t use any rice, but it could be served as a base, with the burger on top and the roux drizzled on as the topping.  

My standard meat for this is shrimp and smoked sausage, but it could be made with quail, duck, chicken, turkey, crawfish, catfish and more. I like to use one aquatic meat and one land meat – I don’t know why, except maybe that was the way  I learned to make gumbo, and it hasn’t failed me yet. In regular gumbo, I use slices of smoked sausage and whole shrimp, but this needs to be formed into burgers, so they are diced, but not as small as the peppers and onions.

I used Clear Run Farms smoked sausage in this batch. Clear Run Farms is a pork farm near Harrells, NC that has a retail store. I like many of their products and their smoked sausage has a light sweet edge to it. It’s just a slightly different twist on the flavor that I like and think you will too. I always buy more than I’ll need and find other ways to use it. 

I like Food Lion brand crackers, as they are fairly light and have a nice buttery flavor. 

Mixing the recipe together is all a part of the fun for gumbo burgers. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup diced shrimp,

1 Cup diced smoked sausage,

1 egg,

1/2 Cup diced okra,

2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced),

1/2 Cup red, orange or yellow bell peppers,

1/2 Cup diced sweet onions,

1/3 Cup diced celery,

2 1/2 Cups crushed buttery flavored crackers,

1 TBSP  mayonnaise,

1 TSP  minced garlic,

1 TSP  Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning,

2 TSP  hot sauce,

Vegetable or canola oil,

Flour or roux mix,

Salt and pepper to taste,

Assorted hot sauces and dipping sauces.

PREPARATION: 

Burgers:

  1. Seed and dice peppers, dice onions, celery and okra, dice sausage and shrimp and crush crackers.
  2. Warm sausage pieces in a frying pan for a couple of minutes.
  3. Crack and whip an egg.
  4. Mix all ingredients except flour and oil in a large bowl.
  5. Form the ingredients into palm-size burgers.
  6. Place the burgers on wax or parchment paper in a pan and refrigerate for an hour or two to firm them up.
  7. Cover the bottom of a heavy frying pan with oil approximately 1/4 inch deep and heat to medium-medium high.
  8. Cook the burgers until they are light brown on both sides.
  9. Drain the burgers for a minute or so on a draining rack or on a paper towel-lined plate. 
  10. Serve the burgers while they are still warm.
  11. Use the roux as a dipping sauce or to drizzle the burgers.

Roux:

  1. Heat 1/2-cup oil to medium high heat in a heavy duty frying pan. Do not allow it to smoke.
  2. Slowly whisk in 1/2-cup of flour or follow the directions on the roux mix package.
  3. Spices for the roux are to taste. Some folks add none, but I add a little Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning and black pepper.
  4. Do not stop whisking or stirring roux while there is heat on the stove burner, as it may scorch. If the roux scorches, discard it, wash the pan and start over.
  5. Use the roux as a dipping sauce or to drizzle the fritters.

Gumbo burgers may be served as an appetizer or as the main entrée. Few people will only eat one. If serving this as a meal, a green salad or lettuce wedge is a great way to start. Many desserts will complete this meal well, but at our house we’re partial to following it with fried bananas. 

About Jerry Dilsaver 1171 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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