Even the best cook using the best equipment can mess up a burger if they do not have the right burger seasoning mix.
It is not just about the ingredients in the seasoning mix, it is about the proportions. One ingredient out of balance can change everything in burger seasoning.
If you have ever tried to make your own burger seasoning, you probably understand just how important it is to balance out the ingredients. We are not saying it can not be done. But sometimes it is just easier to just buy a burger seasoning that has already been formulated.
What are the best burger seasonings? The best burger seasonings consist of a balanced combination of the common burger seasoning ingredients (salt, sugar, multiple pepper types, onion powder, and garlic powder) and enhance it with the addition of one or two unique spices.
Read on to learn about the foundational ingredients in a traditional burger seasoning! We’ll also offer our top 9 best burger seasonings list.
What Does a Classic Burger Seasoning Typically Contain?
There is practically a scientific formula for creating the right burger seasoning. Although it should be simple, it would seem formulation and experimentation are the name of the game with how may get it wrong.
It is not just about getting the right mixture of ingredients, nor is it about the right balance of those ingredients.
The best burger seasonings have a balanced but varied flavor profile. They also have just the right amount of two most important ingredients in a burger seasoning: sugar and salt. These key ingredients are easy to over or under-do.
Many of the best burger seasonings are really just multi-purpose seasoning salts. In the majority of cases burger seasoning and seasoned salt are the same thing. They are also sometimes referred to as all-purpose seasonings.
That’s not to say burger seasonings can’t be versatile either. Nearly any burger seasoning is equally delicious on other foods like French fries, steaks, baked potatoes, and even chicken.
It is likely the original idea behind all-purpose seasoning salts came from restaurants looking to develop simplicity and consistency in their recipes. In fact, some of the best burger seasonings to make this mix are from popular restaurants around the country.
Sugar and Salt
In addition to being important flavoring ingredients that join forces to accentuate the other spices and seasonings included in the best burger seasonings, salt and sugar also perform a more complex culinary role.
Without getting overly scientific, we will just explain it like this.
Salt and sugar contribute to the marinade process by breaking down the meat, tenderizing it as well as flavoring it. While it cooks, sugar and salt contribute to the way the fat from the burger renders.
Going back to what we said at the beginning about even the best cooks with the best equipment can still mess up a burger, it is the sugar and salt that help create the perfectly tender burger, with just the right textured crust on the outside.
The type of salt and sugar used will not always be the same, although it is rare to see a burger mix using some of the expensive and rare finishing salts just like it is uncommon to find expensive or gourmet sugars used.
The salt is usually a sea salt, and the sugar is usually cane or brown sugar.
Other Spices and Seasonings Common to Burger Seasonings
In addition to sugar and salt, which can vary by type, there are a few spices that will show up as the base in nearly every traditional or nontraditional burger seasoning.
Those spices include:
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
Some other common spice inclusions are: ground mustard, cayenne, white pepper, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and all spice. Dried herbs are also used sometimes.
We know cinnamon and all spice may sound like oddballs. But believe it or not, both are often used in meat recipes throughout the world. One or both of them,is often the secret ingredient in a paste sauce or Mediterranean style beef dish that you just can not seem to place.
Just like sugar and salt, the best burger seasonings have just the right amount of each of these additional seasonings.
Too much of one spice can easily ruin a burger seasoning. For example, too much cayenne can take over the seasoning mix, making it more spicy than savory. Cinnamon and mustard powder are other ingredients that will usually be used in lower proportions to the other spices. This keeps them from taking over.
Still, even milder seasonings like garlic or onion powder can become overwhelming.
Other than these baseline, foundational spices, many of the best burger seasonings will have one or two additional ingredients. These add variety and help them stand out above the rest.
Some notable examples of unique burger seasoning flavor profiles that go great on burgers are: spicy, sweet and spicy, smokey, and herby burger seasonings.
We love them all. Our list top 9 list has a nice mix of the combinations, from the traditional to the unique.
The 9 Best Burger Seasonings
Now that we have gone into detail about sugar and salt, the common additional flavorings, and highlighted some of the unique flavor profiles, let us take a look at the nine best burger seasonings:
|1.||Lawry’s Seasoned Salt||Versatile, from burgers to salads|
|2.||McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning||No MSG or artificial flavors|
|3.||Historic Lynchburg Tennessee Whisky Steak & Burger Seasoning||Sugar-free|
|4.||Famous Dave’s Steak & Burger Seasoning||Tastes just like the restaurant|
|5.||Steak N’ Shake Fry N’ Steakburger Seasoning||Tastes just like the restaurant|
|6.||St Elmo Steakhouse World Famous Seasoning||Kosher rub|
|7.||Everglades All Purpose Seasoning||Natural meat tenderizer|
|8.||McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning||Sugar-free & 25% less salt version|
|9.||Weber Blazin' Burger Seasoning||All-natural|
This list includes some of the all-time great traditional burger seasonings, as well as a few of the unique options that have also emerged as crowd pleasers.
1. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt comes in at the top of the burger seasoning list due to its several decade run as one of the most commonly used seasoning mixes in restaurants and probably in home kitchen throughout the country.
Lawry’s seasoning mix is a simple and traditional seasoning mix that packs just the right amount of carefully selected herbs and spices to support the meticulously calibrated combination of sugar and salt.
Great for using in marinades and dry rubs, as well as on nearly everything else, Lawry’s seasoned salt is arguably one of the most useful seasoning mixes around. This is certainly due to its simplicity and its balance of ingredients.
The ingredients in Lawry’s seasoned salt that are listed include: salt, sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion, and garlic. There are certainly some other spices in the mix that are not required to be mentioned in detail. The turmeric and paprika are likely there for color more than flavor, as neither stands out.
2. McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning
The second burger seasoning to make this list is McCormick’s Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning. This is a great example of a burger seasoning that is still simple and versatile enough to be considered a seasoned salt or all-purpose seasoning mix.
The big difference between Lawry’s seasoned salt and McCormick’s burger seasoning blend is that McCormick’s packs just a little more heat. That heat is not as detectable on a burger but may be easier to taste in poultry or potato dishes.
Some people may find that the slight increase in spicy ingredients in McCormick’s makes it flavor profile bolder if they are sensitive to spice. The listed spices in McCormick’s burger seasoning are sugar, salt, black pepper, red bell pepper, chili pepper.
3. Historic Lynchburg Tennessee Whisky Steak & Burger Seasoning
Coming in number 3 on our list is also the first truly unique burger seasoning to show up. Historic Lynchburg Tennessee Whisky Steak & Burger Seasoning is unique for two reasons. First, it does not have any sugar, and second, it gets its sweetness from Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.
Although intended primarily as a BBQ rub, Historic Lynchburg’s burger seasoning works wonderfully with other meats, vegetables, and potato dishes. Adding a sweet and smokey element to the traditional ingredients used in this blend.
The listed ingredients for Historic Lynchburg’s Tennessee Whisky burger seasoning are: kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, crushed red pepper, parsley, and Jack Daniels Black Label whiskey.
4. Famous Dave’s Steak & Burger Seasoning
Famous Dave’s is a BBQ restaurant chain that was founded in the Midwestern United States. They have won several awards for their menu options, which include steaks, burgers, ribs, chicken, beef brisket, several flavors of barbecue sauce, and a few other items and sides.
With such versatility and renown, it is no wonder that their burger seasoning made this list. This burger seasoning is the very same used in all Famous Dave’s restaurant locations. Its quality proven by the success of the restaurant chain itself.
A large reason for the popularity of this seasoning mix is likely due to its relative complexity compared to some of the other burger seasonings on this list. Notable unique ingredients include lemon juice, celery seed extract, and natural smoke flavoring.
Some of the other listed ingredients for Famous Dave’s burger seasoning include salt, sugar, garlic powder, dehydrated garlic, and parsley.
5. Steak N’ Shake Fry N’ Steakburger Seasoning
Steak N’ Shake is another well-known restaurant chain famous for its Steakburgers and thinly cut, extra crispy fries.
Steak N’ Shake has been around since the 1930s. The chain’s popularity certainly implies that their burger seasoning, which is liberally sprinkled on their fries, is a time-tested winner.
Another example of the value of simplicity, Steak N’ Shake’s classic seasoning has a limited amount of ingredients. Those listed include salt, dehydrated garlic and onion, sugar, paprika, turmeric, as well as other spices that are not available.
If you love that Steak N’ Shake taste, but don’t live near one, you can use this seasoning to bring that classic taste home with you.
6. St Elmo Steakhouse World Famous Seasoning
St Elmo’s Steakhouse is another popular restaurant seasoning mix. The go-to seasoning blend of St Elmo Steakhouse’s since the restaurant opened in 1902, it’s popularity has only grown with time.
Yet another example of a simple yet artfully balanced seasoning mix, St Elmo’s burger seasoning is a versatile traditional blend. It’s very similar to the first few options on this list, too. Given how few ingredients are in this blend, its formulation becomes a testament to its success.
St Elmo’s burger seasoning blend is one of the few that does not include the ambiguous “spices” on its label. The short list of ingredients includes sea salt, evaporated cane juice, onion, black pepper, paprika, celery, and garlic.
7. Everglades Seasoning All Purpose Seasoning
Everglades Seasoning all purpose seasoning is one of the more unique burger seasonings to make this list. This uniqueness has to do just as much with its distinct flavor profile as it does with the story behind the seasoning blends creation.
Officially launched in 1975, Everglades Seasoning was the brainchild of a retired Mess Sergeant. The native Alabamian his popular seasoning mix in the Pacific Theater of World War II, while stationed in Saipan.
Created to help his unit cope with a diet new to them, consisting solely of mutton and goat, the savvy Sergeant’s seasoning mix became an instant success. Once back Stateside, the mix became the all-purpose seasoning used at a general store where he inventor worked, growing in popularity.
It was its ability to be used on everything from burgers and steaks to popcorn and eggs that eventually led to it being turned into a retail product. Its characteristic slightly sweet and tropical flavor coming from papain, a powdered meat tenderizer made from unripe papaya.
The other listed ingredients in this Everglades All Purpose Seasoning include salt, monosodium glutamate, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, and sugar.
While much of the research claiming the dangers of MSG has been disproven, we did want to note that this seasoning is one of the few that includes the controversial flavor enhancer.
8. McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
The second McCormick spice blend to make our top 9 list of the burger seasonings is the most difficult one to analyze due to its very limited ingredient list. Yet there is something in the mix that really packs of punch.
For a variety of reasons, it is common to see generics terms like “spices” or “natural flavorings” on ingredient labels. Because these ingredients are not considered allergens and often contribute heavily to the unique taste of foods, we can only try to guess what they are.
In the case of McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning mix, there are a few things that make the flavor unique. For starters, two of the more pronounced ingredients listed, garlic and black pepper, are used with a heavier hand as compared to other burger seasonings.
Combined with however many proprietorially undisclosed dried herbs, this heavy hit of garlic and black pepper really enhances the flavor of grilled meats like burgers and steaks. The variety of herbs in McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning mix contributes a lot to its zesty flavor.
The short list on ingredients in this burger seasoning are coarse salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, onion, sunflower oil, and extractives or paprika. The paprika extract is likely only used for color. This blend also does not contain sugar, making it one of the savorier options on this list.
9. Weber Blazin Burger All-Natural Burger Seasoning
You may recognize the company Weber from the well-known grill manufacturer whose product is sold at nearly every hardware store.
It probably does not surprise you then to see the company formulating its own unique blend to season meats that will be grilled to perfection.
This spice is also unique as it is the spiciest option on the list. It incorporates a variety of peppers including jalapeño, chili pepper, and bell peppers to bring the heat to your burger.
That said, the spice is still evened out by other flavors. The added spice is balanced out by the use of brown sugar, creating a uniquely sweet and savory flavor with a touch of heat.
While it may be spiciest on this list, it is not exactly a hot sauce either.