Marinate Burgers In Red Wine For A Juicy Burst Of Flavor

As if all of the effort you've put into perfecting your burger recipe wasn't enough, it's time for us to blow the lid off of your preconceived notions about what a burger can be. If you want a juicy burst of flavor to accompany every single bite of burger, then you need to marinate your burgers in red wine. As bourgeois as that sounds, trust us on this. Adding red wine to your burger mix is a great way to bring flavor and juiciness to your burgers.

Red wine and meat go well together because they are polar opposites of each other. Red wine is acidic and astringent, while beef is fatty and savory. The two work to balance these opposing qualities in one another. They inhibit the sensation of each in a way that is pleasurable to the palate, so it only makes sense that this will translate to hamburgers. The fattiness of the beef is paired down by the red wine, while the acidity of the red wine is paired down by the fattiness of the beef, leaving you with a wonderfully balanced, and juicy burger.

There are a few different ways in which you can marinate your burgers in red wine. You could have the patties already formed and allow them to sit in a red wine concoction for several hours. Or, you can mix the red wine right into the burger mix by making a reduction sauce.

How to make red wine burgers

For beef burgers, you should use bold and flavorful reds like Merlot or Pinot Noir. Those intense flavors really pair well with the meat, which should be of high quality, ideally with a 90/10 lean-to-fat ratio. Once you've seasoned and formed your burgers, place them in a shallow dish or air-tight freezer bag. Next, you could add just the red wine, or infuse the marinade with aromatics like garlic, sage, or thyme. Pour it over the burgers, massage in the wine, and refrigerate them for at least four hours so the meat is able to infuse with the wine. 

You can also incorporate wine into your burgers by making a red wine reduction sauce. This involves taking wine and sugar and boiling them down to about half its original volume. This creates a really concentrated and flavorful sauce that you can add to the burger mix and really inject the wine flavor into the meat — just be sure to save some sauce to spoon over the burgers after they've cooked.

When either burger is grilling, you will immediately notice the rich aromas of the wine and beef. The wine marinated burgers in particular will have an excellent sear and caramelization. That sear really locks in the moisture so that when you take a bite, you'll be biting into one heck of a juicy burger that mingles with all the wonderfully complex flavors of the wine.