Grilling season is officially upon us. Cooking meat over an open flame and eating it al fresco is a decidedly summer activity, and nothing is more enticing than the smell of grilled burgers, chops, and links.
It’s always seemed a great injustice that our canine friends, who are equipped with such an exquisite sense of smell, are barred from consuming most of the greasy, salty fare that accompanies outdoor dining. You know it smells amazing to them, but denying Fido or Fluffy a hot dog is a kindness really; all that fat and sodium is no good for them.
But just because your beloved pooch can’t partake in Bubba’s Burgers or Ball Park Franks, that doesn’t mean she should be denied the enjoyment of eating a flame-grilled treat in the great outdoors. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures, and it would be a tragedy for them to miss out on the fun.
Thankfully, all it takes is just a couple quick subs and swaps to craft a delicious burger that is totally safe for canine consumption. In Kira and Angie’s favorite iteration, lean poultry takes the place of marbled chuck, fresh strawberry puree stands in for sugary ketchup, and slices of plain (cooked) potato replace processed hamburger buns.
These would be great to break out at a summer barbecue with pups in attendance, and they can be cooked the day before and assembled on the day of. (I wouldn’t want to give my babies anything fresh off the grill anyway; they have no patience and would most likely burn their little mouths.)
Pooch-Approved Chicken Burgers (makes 12):
- 1 pound of extra-lean ground chicken (or turkey)
- 2-3 Russet potatoes
- 12 spinach leaves, rinsed
- 1/4 cup of diced strawberries
- Slice the potatoes into 1/2-3/4-inch slices and boil until cooked but not falling apart, about 15 minutes. Drain and place slices in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
- Form the chicken into 12 patties, each patty should weigh in at around 1 1/4 ounces. Grill for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 165℉. Set aside and let cool.
- Pulse strawberries in a food processor or blender until it resembles a sauce.
- Layer potato slice, chicken patty, strawberry “ketchup,” and spinach and top with another potato slice.
I’ll confess: The smell of grilled chicken was so enticing, I couldn’t help but snag a couple of patties for myself. Thankfully, my pups are very generous (with me, not so much with each other). But enough about me, what did the fur babies think?
I’ll be honest, last month’s prolonged photo sesh left me hesitant to dive right in. When Claire has the camera in her hand, I’m not sure when it’s time for me to eat.
But once I got in there – and boy, did I get in there – I was surprised to find that Claire seemed to be feeding me straight-up human food! I consider myself a people-food connoisseur, and I know a burger when I taste one. I thought my favorite was McDonald’s, but that classic may have competition! Claire’s version was lighter and fresher, and had the added benefit of no stinky farts later on. (I personally don’t care about this, but the people seem to value this quality in a burger.)
Kira may be a burger “connoisseur” or whatever, but I am a burger hunter. I once stalked a McDonald’s cheeseburger through dense shrubbery. It was old and waterlogged – just as I like it – but then the human with the beard intervened and took it from my mouth. It was the height of rudeness, and I still haven’t fully forgiven the bearded one, but this new creation of Claire’s helps to soothe the sting.
Though this burger wasn’t waterlogged nor foraged, it was still quite good. I ran into a bit of “ear trouble” with the sauce, and ended up forgoing the leafy thing and focusing on the meaty part. I also struggled with the potato slices – Claire had to break ‘em up a bit for me – so I recommend serving this dish a bit “deconstructed” for smaller breeds.
Do you grill for your dogs? Tell us what you make in the comments!
Read more Dog Treat Recipes of the Month by Claire Lower:
- Dog Treat Recipe of the Month: Kira’s Savory Birthday Cupcakes!
- Dog Treat Recipe of the Month: Kira’s No-Bake Carrot Cake Balls
- Strawberry and Yogurt Valentine’s Day Hearts
- Olive Oil and Flax-Seed Cheese Biscuits
- Minty Carob-Dipped Christmas Cookies
- Kira and Angie’s Thanksgiving Feast Treats
About the author: Claire Lower is a freelance writer who holds a B.S. in chemistry. After seven years of sweating in Florida, she and her husband packed everything up and drove to Oregon with their two dogs and one very well-behaved cat. She now spends most of her time trying to convince her spaniel that walking in the rain can be fun. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.