Tips for Easy Outdoor Entertaining
This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.
Dining al fresco is a habit of ours. If the weather is nice, we eat outside every chance we get. With recent COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions in place for indoor gatherings, you might be thinking of hosting family and friends outdoors.
Whether you’re having a weeknight family dinner, or you’re entertaining friends on the weekend, burgers made with ground Manitoba chicken are a versatile and nutritious option and are sure to be well-received.
As always, I’m a huge fan of planning ahead, even more so when I’m entertaining outdoors. There are a few steps you can take to get organized before your meal.
- Prepare your food
- Assemble a tray for grilling
- Prepare a tray for serving
Prepare your food
- 1 ½ lbs ground chicken
- 1 egg
- ½ cup bread crumbs (use gluten-free panko to make these gluten-free)
The other ingredients listed in this recipe are for flavour, so feel free to follow the recipe as is or to customize it as you like, by adding different spices, toppings and using different styles of buns. Today I’m sharing a Lemon Basil Chicken Burger, which is a variation of this. I’m doubling the recipe to freeze some of the mix as meatballs for another meal.
Meal prep tip: Double or triple the recipe and freeze half for another meal. When freezing chicken burgers, freeze them on a sheet pan first, then store in a container or freezer bag so they don’t stick together.
You can also use your prep time to cut any toppings you’ll be using, prepare condiments, and slice the buns.
Assemble a tray for grilling
When you’re getting ready to grill, you’ll want to bring out a tray to keep everything organized. I like to use a cookie sheet for this, so I can transfer the cooked food onto it once it’s grilled. It’s important to bring out the raw burgers on a different tray or in a container to avoid cross-contamination.
Food safety tip: Always use separate utensils and trays for raw and cooked chicken.
This is what I like to put on our grilling tray:
- Cookie sheet
- Meat thermometer
- Oven mitt or potholder
- BBQ sauce or any condiments going on the burgers while on the grill
- Sides that also need to be grilled
Food safety tip: The safe internal temperature of cooked ground chicken is 165ºF or 74ºC. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Prepare a tray for serving
Using a serving tray to carry items outside is helpful especially helpful for us, because one parent can supervise the kids, while the other is tending to the grill, keeping the curious little ones safe. Having the tray ready ahead of time allows us to run in and grab it when we’re ready to eat.
On the serving tray I like to include:
- Side dishes
If you’re having a regular weeknight meal, the kids can help assemble the tray before your meal. If you’re entertaining a crowd, your tray can be prepared ahead of time.
We also keep a bin on the deck with some essentials that we always use outside. You can read more about in my How to Pack a Summer Deck Bin to Save Time blog post.
Lemon Basil Chicken Burgers
- 3 lbs ground chicken
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs Can substitute with panko or crushed crackers
- 1 zest of one lemon
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- roasted garlic aioli
- arugula or lettuce
- tomato slices
- bruchetta mix (diced tomatoes, balsamic, garlic, fresh basil)
Zest the lemon, grate the garlic and chop the basil.
Combine ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, lemon, garlic and basil.
Form mixture into 8 patties. For easy portioning, flatten mixture on a sheet pan and use a knife to divide in 8 sections.
Once the patties are formed, use your thumb to make a dent in the centre of each patty. This helps the centre cook faster.
Preheat the barbecue to medium heat.
Grill patties with the lid closed for approximately 7-9 minutes per side.
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. It should read 165 degrees F.
Serve in toasted ciabatta buns with your favorite burger toppings.
Recipe makes 4 burgers and 24 meatballs.
If Lemon Basil isn’t your thing, try these other chicken burger variations from manitobachicken.ca.
Share your variations with us by tagging @manitobachicken & @toobusylivin204 on Instagram!