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Virginia Burgers Stuffed with Crab & Ham

Coming from the Tidewater area of Virginia, we are fortunate to have an abundance of local seafood that can be used in a variety of recipes. A few years back, my sister and I came up with a simple crabmeat dip that we make every year while vacationing on the Outer Banks & everyone just loves it. I thought it would be fun to try the dip as a stuffing for hamburgers. So with a little tweaking of the recipe and adding a little VA baked ham, the VA burger stuffed with crab and ham came to be. And while we all liked the taste, I thought it needed a little more seafood friendly condiment, so I came up with the cocktail spread by combining cocktail sauce, cream cheese, and a little sweet relish. We hope you will enjoy our version of a stuffed burger.


Cocktail Spread:
3 Tbsp. Seafood Cocktail Sauce
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. Sweet Relish
Crabmeat Filling:
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 green onions, chopped fine, divided
1/8 tsp. (scant) Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, divided
8 ounces Backfin Crabmeat, picked clean of shell and cartilage Burgers:
2 pounds, 85/15 ground beef
1 tsp. Salt
2 oz. sliced baked deli ham, chopped (preferably Virginia brand, if available)
Vegetable Oil for brushing on grill rack
6 seeded Sandwich Buns, split
6 tomato slices
6 pieces of green leaf lettuce


To make cocktail spread, add 1 Tbsp. cocktail sauce to softened cream cheese stirring until smooth and blended in a small bowl. Add remaining cocktail sauce, 1 Tbsp. at a time, blending well; stir in sweet relish. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To make crabmeat filling, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion, cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning in a medium bowl. Fold in crabmeat to bind, set aside. To make patties, combine ground beef, salt, remaining chopped green onion, and remaining ¾ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and form portions into thin patties, about 4” in diameter. On 6 of the patties, place an equal portion of the chopped ham in the center of the patty to within ½” of the edge. Top each portion of the ham with equal portions of the crabmeat filling. Cover each with one of the remaining 6 patties, pressing the edges to seal ham and crabmeat inside. Pre-heat gas grill to medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the stuffed burgers gently on the rack, cover and cook, turning once until done to preference, about 5-6 minutes on each side for well done. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the upper grill rack OR if not available, the outer edges of the grilling rack to warm and lightly toast. To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom and roll top spread with an equal portion of the cocktail spread. On each roll bottom, place a slice of tomato, a piece of leaf lettuce, and a burger. Add the bun top and serve. Yields 6 servings.


Note: a 4-inch round biscuit/cookie cutter makes a good mold for shaping the patties.