Nov 052013

Umami Burger And Macaroni Salad

A couple of months ago I was pondering what new food item I would like to make over the weekend. By total accident I came across something called and Umami Burger. What is that?

It was a click by pure chance that led me to a list of great burgers. I did not want to make a burger but in that list was a Umami Burger which I had never heard of.  The first thing I read about was the person put fish oil in it and that didn’t sound appealing at all. Ironically, I take a fish oil supplement daily (good for the heart). But, I clicked off of the page searching for other ideas but I kept thinking about that dang Umami Burger.

So, I went to Google and did a search for Umami and got a crash course education that cleared things up. Meaning clear enough to know that there are some broad borders. One thing that continually came up consistently was that umami is a taste different from salt. Yet soy sauce, for example. is very salty in taste. Clear as mud.

From Wikipedia –

Umami defined – A category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamate, esp. monosodium glutamate.

A good majority of us have all had umami as the very first thing we tasted in this life. Our mother’s breast milk.

Seafood – Kombu, Seaweed, Katsuobush/Dried bonito flakes, Niboshi/Small dried sardines, Bonito, Mackerel, Sea bream,  Tuna,  Cod, Prawns, Squid, Oysters and Shellfish.


Vegetables –  Tomatoes, Shiitake mushrooms, Enokitake mushrooms, Truffles, Soy beans, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Chinese cabbage and Carrots.


Meat – Beef, Pork and Chicken.


Others – Cheese, Green tea, Soy sauce, Chicken Egg and Oyster Sauce.


All of the basic techniques were once again in place from when I wrote How To Make The Perfect Beef Burger here.  I chose to do a very fine chop of 4 ounces of mushrooms and added that to 1 lb ground beef. Then I added a teaspoon of soy sauce and seasoned everything with garlic/pepper to form the patties.

But, here came the trick as I took a half slice of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese and broke it over into a square. I took a 1/4 pound patty and nestled the cheese into it. Then I took another 1/4 pound patty and covered the first one and made sure there was a good seal all around the edges so the cheese could not ooze out. I gently pressed my thumb into the center so it would not dome up when cooking. Then I put a tablespoon of butter and extra virgin olive oil into a medium hot skillet and cooked it 4 minutes per side. I was constantly basting it for the entire 8 minutes total cooking time. I literally never stopped. A bit of workout but the results were out of this world good.

I brought the burger out and let it rest. I lightly toasted the kaiser roll in the same pan I just cooked the burger in and added an aioli spread to each side. A tomato and spinach on top and here is my interpretation of one version of a Umami burger! To this day it’s the best, most juiciest burger I’ve ever made. The texture of the finely chopped mushrooms were so well incorporated into the cooked burger that it just melted in my mouth. Speaking of melting – was the cheddar cheese that ooozed out of the middle.

Yes, I forehead slapped myself for not cutting it in half and taking a cross-section picture. I’m still learning with the food photography.

I knew ahead of time I also wanted to make something new for a side dish and came across Ree Drummond’s macaroni salad recipe on The Pioneer Woman blog. Macaroni salad was something I had wanted to make all of my life and she had never let me down yet. It contained several ingredients like roasted red peppers, black olives, green onions, sweet/spicy pickles, mayo, red wine vinegar, sugar and milk. But, here was the secret….to add a splash of the pickle juice. I’m convinced that made this literally the best macaroni salad ever. I can honestly say I will never use any other recipe than this one here for it.

I wanted to thank Mary at The World Is A Book for all of her support and especially on Twitter. Check out her awesome blog here!

Have you ever had an Umami burger? If so, what were the ingredients?

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  30 Responses to “Making My First Umami Burger And An Amazing Macaroni Salad”

  1. I love reading about your food adventures, but I hate how hungry they make me. That sounds delicious!

  2. Okay, you’re making me terribly hungry! I learned something new here, Umami. The macaroni salad looks delightful. Now, enough of food I must check out your RDJ film tribute. I just love Robert!

    • The food posts drive me nuts because I end up looking at the picture several dozen times in the process of writing it then I’m starving! So, I feel you on the hungry part, Lisa 🙂

  3. I love your posts. I feel like I’m in the kitchen with you – and now if you could just send me a virtual taste of the burger I’d be really happy. Finely chopped mushrooms as the secret ingredient + cheese – I think I can do that.I want you to know you’ve got my mouth watering.

    • Oh wow I really appreciate that wonderful compliment, Leigh! Especially feeling like you’re in the kitchen with me. What a thrill that my post brought that out. I’ve found through several of my posts that many people are not fond of mushrooms for whatever reason. I absolutely love them and they are going nowhere out of my cooking recipes! So, I’m glad we’re on the same page there 🙂

  4. I’m still not certain what a Umami burger is but any burger that has “built-in” cheese, I’m good to go – but you know how I feel about mushrooms. 🙁

    Our favorite secret ingredient for homemade burgers is …. well, it’s a secret! Just kidding, it’s Worcestershire Sauce.

    • Ah, there is an explanation above as to what it is and I know you are one of my non-mushroom fans, Patti. But, I will absolutely come up with several different options that will be without just for you! Ha, ha…to your secret Worcestershire Sauce that made me laugh 🙂

  5. OH my gosh – I am so hungry after reading about your burger, it sounds incredible! Even though I just finished dinner, my mouth was watering over the cheese and mushrooms in the burger meat, and the pasta….what time can we come to your place for dinner!! I will bring the coffee/cake for dessert 🙂

    • I haven’t eaten breakfast yet and my mouth is watering again thinking about that burger. Coffee/cake for dessert sounds wonderful, Lisa! Now just to pull Australia and the States into closer proximity for dinner! 🙂

  6. Just lately I learned that putting mushroom when making a veggie stock increases the umami-ness (yes, I just made that word up) of the stock. Anyway, I love my burger with a healthy does of blue cheese. Yum!

    • I like “umami-ness” and will borrow that in the future, Jill! Good tip on the veggie stock too. Absolutely on bleu cheese burgers as they are delicious! 🙂

  7. Like Patti I’m still not certain what an Umami burger is but it sounds delicious. I’m also salivating over the macaroni salad. Nice mix of ingredients, I’ll have to try it one of these days.
    Thanks for linking up this week, Mike!

    • It’s any of the ingredients listed above in any combination you like with the emphasis on there being a unique taste that isn’t salty. Sorry I didn’t explain it better! Despite the soy sauce the overall taste of the burger was not salty. I was the lone wolf out there on the link this week so far! 🙂

  8. Wow Mike! I never heard of Umami burger but it looks and sound amazing. How clever to put mushrooms and cheese in the burger! Love the idea!

    • It sure worked out perfectly and thank you, Rita! I’ve made some good burgers but this one…the meat for real deal just dissolved in my mouth. Oh my gawd! 🙂

  9. I can’t believe it was your first time making umami burger and this delicious looking macaroni salad! The food presentation looks so appealing and professional, well done!

    • I so appreciate the compliment, Agness!! I promise to post a non-meat dish sometime!! Congrats to you and Cez on your eBook!! 🙂

  10. I love mushrooms and I love a good burger as well. Thankfully I just had lunch or else my mouth would be watering right now. I am going to post this to my Pinterest recipes so I’ll remember to try it out later.

    • Wow, that rocks Jeri! Thank you sooooo much! And most of all I’m glad I found a fellow mushroom lover. Folks are finicky about them 🙂

  11. wow….that looks sooo good! I’ve never even heard of that much less eaten it, but I would now if I came across it. The macaroni salad…I mean, come on. I’ll eat anything with pasta. I’ll check out Mary’s blog fer sher…I always need new recipes. Lord knows.

    • LOL!! I burst out laughing at your Val gal comment, Beth! What a like totally tripendicular awesome comment from you, our friend! 🙂 The burger and macaroni salad were out of sight! 🙂

  12. Mmmmm this looks and sounds sooooo delicious! I love reading food blogs so I’m going to add yours to the list (Phoenix, food, travel, Top 10 lists – I enjoy how you mix everything up on your blog – just like a good soup!)

    Have you come across a food blog called The Skint Foodie before? If you haven’t then here’s the link – read his About section too as it’s really inspiring (as well as his cooking and ability to make his readers laugh!)

    • What an awesome compliment and thank you, Shing! I was just discussing that with a close buddy of mine last night. That my blog right now is a melting pot and seems to give the travel bloggers (them and food bloggers are my favorites to follow) a nice time out. I will absolutely check out The Skint Foodie and thank you for sending it to me! 🙂

  13. It sounds good. I am a big fan of sushi though and this has a flare of that I feel.

    • I’m a huge fan of sushi and this would be quite a stretch for that, Krystle LOL! But, how ironic as I literally today I was wondering how it would do with some fish in it. I’m going to have to experiment!

  14. I’ve never had a Umami burger…this is the first I’ve ever heard of it. The pickle juice trick is one of my favs – I add it to chicken salad and tuna salad!

    • That is great Michelle and thank you for the hint!! I will definitely file that away because if the macaroni salad is any indication what a hidden gem! 🙂

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