You are here

Celebrate National BBQ Day with Calorie-Cutting Tricks from Chef Richard Blais


Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern Let’s be honest—summer isn’t really summer without a few awesome barbeques. Lucky for you, National BBQ day is this Saturday, giving you another reason to cook out (as if you needed it). To lighten up your grill this summer, we nabbed some tips from Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais to help you build a better, healthier burger this grilling season.

Buy the best ingredients. Make sure your meats and breads are fresh by either buying straight from the butcher or knowing what to look for. According to The Book of Steak, the easiest way to check the freshness of grocery store meat is to look at its plastic wrap. A sure sign that the meat has been sitting on the shelf for a while is if blood has pooled at the bottom of the packaging.

Know your temps.  One of the most common grilling mistakes Blais sees is cooking at the wrong temperature. As a good rule of thumb, big pieces of meat or fish should be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time.

Don’t leave leftovers…for too long. You don’t have to chow down that day, but meat doesn’t keep for very long post-purchase. The Book of Steak notes raw beef can be refrigerated in the bottom of the fridge for 3-5 days, but ground beef should be eaten within 1-2 days.

Customize your condiments. Get more nutritional bang for your buck by adding a splash of pomegranate juice to store-bought ketchup for a quick boost of tartness and antioxidants. Top your burger with good fats and great flavor by adding a few slices of avocado before chowing down.

Pump up your patty. Cut the calories and extend the portion size of your average burger by adding finely chopped mushrooms to ground beef or turkey to create a moist patty that’s packed with vitamin D, B, and potassium. Check out the Earth & Turf burger, Blais’ specialty, which blends portabella, shiitake and button mushrooms into a tasty creation. Best of all, this mushroom and beef blend has 25 percent less fat and 130 fewer calories than its all-beef counterpart. Yum! Click below for the recipe!

Richard Blais' Earth & Turf Burger Burger Blend - Mushrooms

  • 12 ounces portabella mushrooms
  • 9 ounces shiitake mushroom caps
  • 9 ounces button mushrooms

Burger Blend - Meat

  • 12 ounces beef chuck (or 80/20 store-bought blend)
  • 9 ounces beef short rib
  • 9 ounces beef brisket

Patty Seasoning

  • 1 tsp Worcestershire powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp Porcini mushroom powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Patty Preparation

  1. In a pan with high-quality butter, roast the mushroom blend until golden. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  2. Place on a paper towel and cool.
  3. In a grinder, grind the mushroom blend. Use paper towel to blot out any remaining moisture.
  4. Gently fold the cooked mushroom grind and beef blend together.
  5. Form into ¾ inch thick patties.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Season burger with the spice blend and salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Cook in a pan or on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. If cooking in a pan, toss in a pat of butter and sprigs of rosemary and thyme.