Old Bay Burgers with Tangy Dill Mayonnaise and Grilled Red Onions

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.

In Baltimore, Maryland, located along the Chesapeake Bay, crab is king! In the 1940’s crabs were so plentiful that bars in Baltimore offered them free to their patrons. To encourage the bar patrons to drink more beverages, Old Bay Seasoning was created to season the crabs.Today, Maryland cooks still use Old Bay to season seafood, but they also use it in many other meat and side dishes, as well. It is so popular in the Chesapeake Bay area that it has become a staple in restaurants and in family kitchens where it often sits on the table (like an everyday seasoning), beside the salt and pepper shakers. Some Marylanders douse everything they eat with Old Bay. But, it is such a strong spice that it can quickly overwhelm the taste buds of anyone not used to it. In this recipe, I’ve used Old Bay to add Maryland-style flavor to the burgers without overpowering them.


Tangy Dill Mayonnaise

½ cup Mayonnaise

½ teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (Heinz brand suggested)

1½ teaspoons Sugar

¼ teaspoon dried dill weed

¼ teaspoon bottled Red Hot Sauce


2 pounds freshly ground chuck

¼ cup tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1½ Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on grill

6 large slices red onion (1/4 inch thick)

6 fresh, soft Kaiser rolls, split

3-4 tablespoons soft, spreadable butter for spreading on rolls

6 slices mild cheddar cheese

6 large leaves of red romaine lettuce gently torn into pieces


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make mayonnaise, whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, dill weed, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the patties, combine the chuck, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the buns.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack. Close the cover. After the burgers have been on the grill for 5 to 7 minutes, open the lid and flip the burgers over. Brush any remaining oil on the onions and then place them on the grill. Grill the onions 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove them to a plate. Close the lid and continue cooking burgers 8 to 10 minutes longer or until cooked through. During the last few minutes of cooking, spread the cut side of the rolls with the butter. Open the lid on the grill and place the rolls along the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly for 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the rolls to a plate. Place a slice of cheese on each burger and close the lid again just until the cheese melts.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the Tangy Dill Mayonnaise on the cut sides of the rolls. Place equal amounts of the lettuce on the bottom half of each roll. Nestle a burger on top of the lettuce on each roll. Place an onion slice on the top of each burger. Add the top of the roll and serve.