Building the Perfect Low Sodium Cheeseburger
The grill is open, temperatures are rising, and the air is filled with smoke. Whether from gas or charcoal fueled flames, grilling season is open! The smell of beef patties is a signature smell of the season. I was just grilling up a bunch for dinner the other night, and I was asked if I can list out all the options to hack out the sodium of this favorite, so here is the secrets and ingredients to building the perfect low sodium cheeseburger.
Typically store bought buns run in the 300-500 mg of sodium range. We need to hack this.
- Scratch Options – Start from scratch. Bake your own buns. There are several recipes for home made low sodium buns out there, and if you are a baker, I’m pretty sure you can whip up your own that can taste incredible. I often don’t have the luxury of time with 3 kids, so I usually go with a store-bought option.
- No Bun Options – Ever since the low carb craze, and also with the Paleo diet, many people opt out of buns entirely. You can wrap the patty in large leafs of lettuce: Romaine (7 mg per 85 g), Bibb (5 mg per 85g), or Butter Lettuce (5 mg per 85g).
- Store Bought Options – The best store bought solution I have found that is also pretty easily found in local stores are the Original Kings Hawaiian Sweet Hamburger buns at 135 mg per bun. I reviewed them here. If you don’t care for a sweet roll, then I also have found the ThinSlims brand of hamburger buns that are low cal and 170 mg per bun. I also like the Arnold brand Sandwich Thins. Both Mutli-Grain and Whole Wheat are 170 mg per bun.
Next Up – The Burger Pattie
When building the perfect low sodium cheeseburger, you will need to have a great Protein. One huge tip I highly recommend is to make friends with your local butcher. Even if it is the grocery store butcher. You need an ally that can help steer you towards fresh meat that is minimally processed. Many times, they will soak meats, poultry, and seafood in saltwater prior to freezing. You want to find food that has not been processed that way. Avoid frozen burgers.
- Beef – ground, 85% lean meat / 15% fat has 56 mg per 3 oz serving. About a quarter pound patty.
- Turkey – ground, 85% lean meat has 61 mg per 4 oz serving. A thick quarter pound patty (Thicker patties will dry out less).
- Pork – Pork, ground, 96% lean / 4% fat has 64 mg per 4 oz serving. A thick quarter pound patty (Thicker patties will dry out less).
- Chorizo – I have a recipe to make low sodium chorizo sausage and you can make a 4 oz patty for 64 mg.
- Buffalo – ground, has 75 mg per 3 oz serving.
- Lamb – ground, has 67 mg per a 4 oz. serving.
- Salmon – Canned salmon my vary, but fresh salmon is 115 mg per 3 oz.
- Tuna – Fresh Tuna has only 45 mg per 3 oz. You can check out these killer Honey Sriracha Tuna Sliders I made here. Make sure you check the labels for canned tuna.
- Chickpeas – Many store bought veggie burgers are way too high. Make my Chickpea Burgers with this recipe. Only 135 mg.
- Black Bean Burgers – My black bean burgers are a spicy southwestern style. You can get the recipe for my black bean burgers here. They have 135 mg.
Also, once you make friends with a quality butcher, they can do blends of ground beef that could include other low sodium proteins.
Building The Flavors – Seasonings
There are many salt free seasoning to help knock your burgers into grillmaster level.
- Weber’s Salt Free Grill Seasonings (Sam’s Club and Walmart) – The Steak seasoning is perfect for beef burgers, and the Chicken Seasoning is perfect for Poultry, Pork, or Salmon. I reviewed these both here.
- McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb. I love this stuff and use it on almost everything. They can be found at multiple stores and I reviewed their selection of spices here.
- Dak’s Salt Free Spice Blends. Multiple flavors to choose from depending on how spicy and what flavors you want to build. Southwest, Cajun Voodoo, and Butt Kicking Buffalo would rock, but on beef, I love the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Peppercorns. I reviewed them here. Hacking Salt readers always get 10% off their orders and free shipping when you enter the code “Hacking Salt” at Checkout.
Piling on Flavors – The Toppings
Here is where you can add in the flavors you want:
- Cheese – The best option for a low sodium slice is to go with a Swiss. Most brands come in at 15 mg per slice. Make sure you check the label.
- Cheese Spread – Neufchatel and Marscapone come in low sodium varieties, and you can doctor them up with fresh herbs or peppers for another creamy layer of flavor. Lemon zest and dill makes for great Greek Burgers. Jalapenos in the cheese can emulate a pepper jack without the sodium.
- Pickles – Yes pickles! You can make my Low Sodium Dill Pickles with this recipe here. There are many brands of sweet pickles that have low sodium. The best store bought dills would be the McClure’s brand Garlic Spears (sliced up for the burger) at 75 mg. per spear.
- Lettuce – See the sodium counts above for Romaine, Bibb, or Butter lettuce.
- Tomatoes – 1 mg per 1/4″ slice
- Onions – 2 mg per 1/4″ slice
- Pineapple – (great on turkey or salmon burgers) 1 mg per 3/4″ thick ring
- Low Sodium Bacon – I have a local brand that is 75 mg per slice.
Make It Saucy – The Condiments
- Hunt’s No Salt Added Ketchup – best tasting, plus NO potassium chloride and 0 mg of sodium
- Yellow Mustard – French’s is 55 mg per teaspoon.
- Stoneground Mustard – Westbrae’s is the best I have found at 0 mg. Here is my review of them.
- Dijon Mustard – The Silver Spring Brand is 45 mg per teaspoon.
- Hot Sauce – Original Tabasco Sauce is 80 mg per teaspoon or Dave’s Insanity Sauce is 10 mg per teaspoon.
- Mayo – Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise is 95 mg per tablespoon.
Hopefully this Hacking of the classic cheeseburger has inspired and empowered you to know that you can lose salt, and not taste, and that you too can be building the perfect low sodium cheeseburger! Let me know how you build yours in the comments below!
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