Ground beef is the working class of the butcher counter. It’s dependable and affordable, but sometimes it can feel . . . well, a little boring. Sure, the first time you throw a few burger pa tties on the grill, it can be a great feeling—the official launch of summer. But how many burgers can a man eat before he wants to scream, “Enough already?”

We sought out some of our favorite chefs and butchers—guys like Tim Love, Curtis Stone, and the cleaver-wielding artists at Fleisher’s Craft Butchery—and asked them for their best beef ideas. They came up with five original recipes that will change the way you think about ground beef.

And for more amazing receipes like this, pick up a copy of Guy Gourmet. It’s got more than 150 amazingly delicious recipes, many inspired by top chefs.

Asian Beef and Vegetable Lettuce Cups


(Image courtesy of Penguin/ Random House)

Recipe by: Curtis Stone
Serves 4

The bestselling author—his latest is Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You’ll Love to Make and Eat—and host of Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates suggests a ground beef recipes that’s on the lighter side, what he calls “a variation on Chinese san choy bow, where ground meat and lots of fresh vegetables—bean sprouts, carrots, and cabbage—are spooned into lettuce leaves and eaten just like a taco.”

What You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 ¼ cups finely shredded green cabbage

1/3 cup hoisin sauce, plus more for serving

1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 large carrot, coarsely shredded on the large holes of a box grater

3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ heads iceberg lettuce (12 to 20 leaves) 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges, for serving

(Related: Iceberg lettuce gets no respect, but it’s one of 6 Foods With Stealth Health Powers.)

How to Make It:

1. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, then add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon for about 4 minutes, or until it loses its raw look. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl.

2. Return the pan to medium high heat and add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the onions and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute, or until the onions begin to soften.

Stir in the garlic, followed by the celery and cabbage, and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender.

3. Stir in the hoisin sauce. Return the meat to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds to blend the flavors.

4. Stir in 1 cup of the bean sprouts, the carrots, and one-third of the scallions and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Remove the pan from the heat.

6. Arrange the lettuce leaves on four plates. Spoon some of the beef mixture into each of the leaves and garnish with the cilantro, remaining bean sprouts, and scallions. Serve immediately, with lime wedges and hoisin sauce on the side.