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Published August 28, 2013, 10:00 PM

The Great Indoors: Tasty ‘John Wheeler Burgers’ perfect for end-of-summer cookout

We all know John Wheeler as that man who, for 28 years, has brought us the good, the bad and the downright frigid.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

We all know John Wheeler as that man who, for 28 years, has brought us the good, the bad and the downright frigid.

But WDAY-TV’s chief meteorologist also makes some of the world’s greatest hamburgers.

Take my word for it. I first found out about “John Wheeler Burgers” around 1989. (John and I had a hard time remembering the exact date. I think all that hairspray I wore in the ’80s seeped into my brain and destroyed my memory. I’m not sure what John’s excuse is).

At that time, we were both working for WDAY, where the news team did a series of backyard barbecue broadcasts. Each anchor was asked to make his/her specialty. (John recalls that sportscaster and now MSNBC personality Ed Schultz made a fish dish).

But John’s food was the biggest hit.

John pulled out an old family recipe created by his dad. Something they came to call, “The World’s Greatest Hamburger.” After trying it and loving it, all of us in the newsroom started calling them “John Wheeler Burgers.”

I’ve made them for years, off that original recipe I jotted down on a back of one of the news scripts.

They’re so tasty and rich that ketchup and mustard just get in the way. John recommends a single slice of tomato; I garnish with just a couple of dill pickle slices.

So if you’re looking for something a little different for your Labor Day barbecue, give John’s burgers a try. I guarantee they’ll be great. John makes no guarantee the weather will be the same.


1 pound 80 percent lean ground beef (leaner beef doesn’t work as well)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon onion powder

8 crushed Ritz crackers

1 egg

4-5 shakes of Worcestershire sauce (a few tablespoons)

1 generous shake of A-1 Steak Sauce

A dash of Tiger Sauce

4 tablspoon melted butter or margarine

1/2 cup or so of burgundy wine (any inexpensive red wine works well)


Mix all ingredients (except butter and wine) well. Shape into four patties (Recipe is easily doubled or tripled).

Mix melted butter and wine together in a small bowl.

Place burgers on hot grill, and baste with butter/wine mixture. Close lid. When it’s time to turn the burgers, baste the other side. Cook until done.

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com