They stopped making it years ago, but I saw the light when I started using Stubb's Burger Rub. The directions were to season one side of the burger, start with that side up and cook it most of the way, then flip it over onto the seasoned side just to get a crust on that side. Put it on the bun seasoned-side down so that's what hits your tongue first. I make my own burger seasoning now, but I follow the same steps - burgers on the grill, dust the tops with seasoning, flip, add cheese, serve.
I grew up eating "meatloaf burgers", too. It is certainly a way to stretch out a pound of beef to feed a family, but fillers like egg and breadcrumbs are for loaves and balls, not burgers. I used to season the mix in my early days even though I didn't use fillers, but there is definitely a difference in consistency if you don't mix the salt inside the meat. The other key to texture is not using any beef leaner than 80-85%, especially in grilling when so much of the fat drips off.
there is definitely some technique involved with that, i do like strong flavours so im sure someday ill try a seasoning thing to throw on while keeping a crust.
im trying to work with beef on occasion these days, i made some excellent blue/rare steaks last month. call me crazy but im working to get some methods for making raw beef. and a friend i know has been serving pork rare to his family (with kids) for a while now. pork and beef production is so clean now, the inside of both a piece of say pork or beef tenderloin that hasn't been punctured should be sterile. so im thinking i'll get a good quality beef tenderloin, freeze it a bit for cutting, cut off ~0.75cm on each side, removing all exterior parts and perhaps even sterilizing the knife between each cut, saving the sterile interior and slicing it up thinly, salting it and maybe seasoning it with sesame oil or something.
the other method is getting a super hot pan, touching every part of the tenderloin to the pan for 1 to 3 seconds, then cutting all that cooked part off. i just dont know how far the cooked part will extend into it.
i've eaten raw beef, liver, fish and seafood many dozens of times now. maybe i've gotten sick before from it, i know i likely have from fish (raw anchovies come to mind) sometimes, but nothing permanent.