Sink your teeth into these tasty gourmet burgers, stacked right

Many people will enjoy the summer by firing up the grill to make some juicy burgers. But if you’re tired of stacking this American classic with the standard lettuce, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun, we have some condiments that’ll give your patties that extra zing. Rebecca Bent, author of “Burgers: 50 recipes celebrating an American Classic,” was invited on “Weekend Today” to show how to take this sandwich from blasé to gourmet. Here are the recipes:

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Serves 4 Servings
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Beer Burger Smeared with Fresh Goat Cheese

Serves 4

Preheat a grill or cast-iron skillet, wiping down the grate or the skillet with olive oil before heating over a medium-high flame. 

In a large bowl, break up the ground beef and pour the beer over it.  Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Mix in the honey mustard, fennel, sage, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 

Divide into 4 patties at least 1 inch thick.  Cook the burgers over medium-high heat until medium-rare: 4 minutes per side on the grill, 4 1/2 minutes per side in a skillet. 

Meanwhile, smear about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on the top half of each bagel. 

Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bagel, cover with the tops, and serve. 

Yellowfin Tuna Burger with Mandarin Orange-Ginger Glaze

To make the glaze:

Combine all the glaze ingredients with 1/3 cup water in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the glaze coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve and reserve in a warm place until the burgers are cooked.  Skip the straining step if you like chunky glazes. 

To make the burgers:

Remove any skin or gristle from the tuna, then grind in a meat grinder or chop with a clean sharp knife just to the texture of hamburger meat.  If you have a food processor, you should chop the tuna into cubes first and use the dough blade to mince. 

Transfer the ground tuna to a bowl and combine with the garlic, ground pecans, salt, and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Divide the tuna into 4 equal portions. Using your hands, roll each into a smooth ball and then flatten into a compact patty. 

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame and sear the burgers until browned outside and medium-rare, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve each on a buttered, toasted bun topped with 1 tablespoon of the warm glaze.

Excerpted from Burgers : 50 Recipes Celebrating an American Classic by Rebecca Bent and Tom Steele. Copyright © 2004 by Rebecca Bent and Tom Steele. Published by Clarkson-Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.