Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, so it’s a great time for some creative cooking on the grill. While Labor Day cookouts and BBQs often include standards like burgers and hot dogs, why not change up your grilling repertoire with some spiced up versions of summertime staples? Here are three tasty and delicious all-American burger recipes for that last official summertime cookout of the season.

Before you light up the grill, there are a few tips to help you prep the best burger meat mixture. First and foremost, don’t use the leanest ground sirloin, because it makes for drier burgers. Ground beef or ground chuck work better for juicy burgers. When planning for a big party the easiest way to measure out burgers is to remember, six ounces of beef per burger. Always cook beef burgers to at least 160 degrees, and let the meat come to room temperature before cooking it.

Bruschetta Burgers

Bruschetta Burgers, Burgers, Grilling, Cooking, Labor Day Cook Outs, Labor Day

Photo Credit Thinkstock

For an Italian twist on a BBQ favorite, add ¼ cup parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of fresh basil, two cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper to two pounds of ground beef. Shape into patties. Grill the burgers until cooked and top with thick slices of mozzarella cheese and jarred bruschetta mix. Serve on buttery toasted buns.

French Onion Soup Burger

Onion Burger, Burger, Grilling, Cook Outs, Labor Day

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Onion soup mix isn’t just for potato chip dips. For the best-ever onion burgers, add a packet of dry onion soup mix and a half cup of water to two pounds of ground beef. Mix it all together, shape into patties and grill. Of course, if you want really oniony burgers, you’re not done just there. Toppings like caramelized onions and gooey Swiss cheese will make these burgers melt in your mouth. To make perfect caramelized onions, fry sliced onions (not too thin, so slice pieces about 1/8 inch thick) in a combination of butter and olive oil on medium-low heat. And remember, caramelization takes time, so don’t try to rush the onion frying process.

SoCal Burger Knockoff

Burger, SoCal Burger, Grilling, Cook Out, Labor Day

Photo Credit Thinkstock

You don’t have to live in California to get a taste of one of the top fast food restaurant chains in the country. While In-N-Out Burger is found mostly in Southern California, burger lovers from all over the country can create a knockoff version of the chain’s signature burger this Labor Day. The trick to an In-N-Out burger has everything to do with the secret sauce, which has been the chain’s staple since 1948. So, after grilling up a batch of thin beef patties, top each one of with American cheese and serve them on toasted rolls garnished with iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickles and caramelized onions. (In-N-Out Burger puts two thin patties on each bun.) For the finishing touch, top the entire concoction with a big dollop of secret sauce.

For sauce, mix together:

  • ¼ Cup mayo
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ tsp white vinegar

Victoria Miller is a freelance entertainment writer who also covers recreation and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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