The Boy has become addicted to chicken wings. A big national wing chain opened in our little town about a year ago and, all I can say is, thank goodness for their rewards program. We eat there at LEAST twice a month. It’s his go-to place anytime we ask for dinner ideas (which we don’t ask for often for that very reason!). And please don’t think I’m not a wing fan. I love wings but am very picky about them. The skin has to be perfectly crispy and the balance of tangy to spicy has to be just right. I’m a pain in the ass to take to a wing place.
But again, the flavors are just freaking awesome and I decided to try something new a couple of months ago. We’ve all seen Buffalo chicken sandwiches on the menu at various wing places and that’s good. But they are usually a big fried chicken breast and that’s just a little much to tackle on a weeknight. I wanted a Buffalo chicken sandwich but not all the kitchen mess of frying (plus, maybe slightly healthier?). I picked up a pound of ground chicken and a family favorite was born.
This sandwich incorporates all the flavors of your favorite chicken wing basket all formed into a patty and grilled up in less than an hour (you could also do it stove top but if you can grill it, go for it!). Start with a mixture of finely diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Add some scallions and hot sauce and fold in some blue cheese and you’ve got the makings of a yummy night IN without the need for a bunch of wet naps.
Buffalo Chicken Burgers (serves 4)
- 4 T unsalted butter, divided (you may want more depending on how spicy you like things)
- 5 stalks celery, divided
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 4 oz blue cheese crumbles
- 1 C hot sauce, divided (Frank’s Red Hot is the classic choice)
- Good quality chunky blue cheese dressing (from the produce/refrigerated section)
- iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
- sliced tomato
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil spray
- 4 good quality hamburger buns
Preheat oven to 350F. Preheat grill to medium high.
Destring celery (click here for a trick to doing this). Finely dice one of the stalks, reserving the rest for serving later. Finely dice carrot, onion and garlic. Melt 1 T butter in a small saute pan. Saute celery, onions and carrots over medium heat with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute for one minute. Remove to a large bowl to cool for a bit.
Combine slightly cooled veggies with chicken, scallions, blue cheese crumbles, about 1/4 C hot sauce and about 1 t salt and 1 t pepper. Mix thoroughly with a fork until well combined.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Using wet hands, shape chicken mixture into four thick patties. Space evenly on baking sheet and bake about 4-5 minutes on each side (this just firms it up so there is less chance of your burger falling apart on grill).
In a small sauce pan, melt remaining butter. Whisk in remaining hot sauce until well combined. Taste. If it’s too spicy, melt in a bit more butter, 1 T at a time, until desired spiciness. Set aside next to your grill.
Spray grill grates with vegetable oil spray. Grill chicken burgers about five minutes on the first side (rotating once so you get criss-cross grill marks). Turn and brush grilled side with wing sauce. Continue to cook second side for 5 minutes, again rotating once to get the nice grill marks. Flip and brush second side with sauce. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer (this is not a burger you want to serve medium!). Continue to cook one minute per side (brushing with additional sauce at each flip) until internal temperature reaches 165F.
Serve burgers on toasted buns topped with lots of blue cheese dressing, lettuce and tomato. I served mine with a side of celery sticks and blue cheese dressing and some crispy tater tots for a satisfying dinner treat!