A new toy

 

We added a new toy to our arsenal this past week…a Blackstone 17″ griddle. I wanted to get the 36″ cuz bigger is always better, but I reigned myself in as our back porch really doesn’t have the room and I knew if I stored it in the garage, it just wouldn’t get used. The 17″ will easily stow away in one of the cabinets that we are building into our outdoor cooking area when not in use. And 17″ will probably work out just fine for the three of us.

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Seasoning up the Blackstone 17″ griddle

I started off by thoroughly washing the griddle in hot soapy water, then heated it to medium to medium warm and applied grapeseed oil and wiped it around with a paper towel. I hear flaxseed oil is the best to season steel and cast iron, but my grocery store doesn’t carry it and grapeseed oil has a high smoking point so I figured it was probably good to go. I repeated that for around 30 minutes until it had started to get a nice color.

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Cooking some onions

After that, I threw on one chopped onion and started sautéing that. From what I’ve read, this step will take away the metallic taste and help further season the griddle. Throw away the onions when you are done and after the have cooled off.

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BACON!!!

The next step was bacon because it’s bacon and you really don’t need a reason to cook bacon and because we were making bacon cheeseburgers.

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Smashing the patties

Our first “official” cook was smashburgers. Not going to go into detail because it was our first try, and while they were great, I feel like we could do better and that we could should perfect the technique before sharing it.

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Cheese please

I also got the Cuisinart melting dome so that we could melt cheese. The description on Amazon said it had a 9″ diameter, so I only got one thinking that 9+9=18 which is greater than 17″, but either my math is wrong or the dimensions of either the griddle or the dome are wrong because I can easily fit 2 on there. I’ll have to pick up another one regardless.

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Yum!!

Mrs. G said that it was one of the best burgers she’s had in a long time. Now, she has always been a fan of a griddled burger and I can understand. All that contact with a hot surface produced a nice crust on the burger that is just so tasty. Don’t get me wrong…I still love a grilled burger, but a griddled burger is damn tasty too.

I can’t wait to do burgers again and to see what else we can whip up on this new toy…

 

FYI I picked this up at my local Ace Hardware for $79.99. You can order it online and have it delivered to your closest location and it should arrive in something like 5-8 business days. I can’t remember. Or for a bit more, you can have it shipped to your house. It’s also available on Amazon for over $100 with free shipping with Prime right now.

And as always, I have no connection or affiliation with either Blackstone, Cuisinart or Ace Hardware. I purchased these products with my own hard earned money and are not receiving any kind of compensation for this post.

Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger

Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger
Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger

According to The Garden and Gun Blog:

As best as culinary historians can tell, the pimento burger was created there (edit Columbia, South Carolina) by Jacob “J. C.” Reynolds, who, around 1954, opened the Dairy Bar on South Main Street in the shadow of the state capitol. Reynolds introduced his signature burger sometime in the 1960s, and it quickly became a favorite of harried bureaucrats and hungover college kids. Reynolds spread homemade pimento cheese directly on the bun before adding a thin beef patty and a layer of chili. Other Columbia lunch spots followed his lead and created their own versions, and for decades the pimento burger ruled as an unheralded but much loved local specialty….

…A proper pimento burger is an exercise in balance and proportion, wider than it is tall, with a thin bun that, at a minimum, has been well-toasted or, better yet, given a sandwich-press squeeze just before serving. The key is to melt the pimento cheese, transforming it into a molten goo that seeps into the beef and the bun, a blissful, unified whole….

I’ve never had a Pimento Cheese Burger. Seen them on T.V., but never actually indulged in one myself. Loving both burgers and pimento cheese, I’ve been curious about trying one for years. After a fellow named Hashmaker on the Big Green Egg forum made one last week and then said to me, “I’d like to see your take on the pimento cheese burger.”, it was bumped to the top of the to-do list. But since I can’t seem to leave things well enough alone, I thought I would “Texafy” it.

How should we go about Texafing it? Let’s start with the pimento cheese. I love pimento cheese, so I don’t want to mess with that much. Let’s add some jalapenos! Next, the bun. Hamburger buns are good (it is a hamburger, duh!) Brioche buns? Been done and I can’t find them in my neck of the woods anyway. Think Texas….think local…Telera rolls! These are used to make Mexican tortas, why not my Texafied burger. Hmmm…what else does a burger need? Bacon! Gotta have bacon on a burger. Now we got us the start of a burger.

Cast of characters for the pimento cheese (minues 1/2 jalapeno diced)
Cast of characters for the pimento cheese (minues 1/2 jalapeno diced)

For the pimento cheese, I knew I wanted to go home made on it. Looked at a couple of recipes online, threw some out (no Paula Deen, I don’t need cream cheese in my pimento cheese, thanks) and finally settled on one that was on both the Serious Eats  and Savuer websites, but doubled the recipe (I wanted some for sandwiches later in the week) and changed a few things here and there.

Ingredients

For the Pimento Cheese

  • 4 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cracker Barrel)
  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheese
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon diced pimentos
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon diced jalapeno
  • Salt and black pepper

For the Burger (makes 4)

  • 1.5 lbs of 80/20 ground beef
  • couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of garlic and onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • Telera Rolls (or whatever buns you prefer for hamburgers
  • lettuce and tomato and onion optional
Hamburger patty onto the Mini BGE at 550.
Hamburger patty onto the Mini BGE at 550.

Directions

  1. At least 30 minutes before lighting the grill, mix together the ingredients for the pimento cheese in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Place pimento cheese in the refrigerator to chill and allow flavors to marry.
  2. Combine ingredients for the burgers and shape into 4 thin patties. Place in freezer for a maximum of 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  3. Light grill and pre-heat to 550F.
  4. Remove patties from freezer and cook for about 4 minutes per side. Flip and top with 2 tablespoons of pimento cheese per patty and continue to cook for another 4 minutes.
  5. Remove patties from grill when pimento cheese has melted and burgers have reached the desired level of doneness. Top with desired ingredients.
Flipped after 4 minutes and topped with pimento cheese
Flipped after 4 minutes and topped with pimento cheese

One thing I read and was a bit skeptical on (even though it made sense) was that the burger would not need any condiments. If you think about it, the mayo is already in the pimento cheese. If you want to add ketchup or mustard, be my guest, but try it first without them. I was pleased with the flavor and didn’t think additional condiments were necessary.

Burger assembled with bacon.
Burger assembled with bacon and served with onion rings.

Notice the toasted buns? Gotta have toasted buns with a burger. If you really don’t care about your health, go ahead and toast those buns in the bacon grease. I’m not saying I did that, but I I’ll deny it if you ask. 😉 Look at all those spices in the melted pimento cheese. I may have gone a bit heavy handed there.

My new favorite burger
My new favorite burger

Ooey, gooey, meltedy cheesey burger!! I had been texting on and off with a BBQ buddy by the name of Dyal_SC through out the night. After two bites, I had to put down the burger to text him and declare I had found my new favorite burger! So good, so decadent. The perfectly melted cheese played nicely with the burger, creamy and delicious, with just a hint of heat from the cayenne and jalapeno. The bacon added the right amount of saltiness and smoked flavor. Like I said before, there was no need for additional condiments. I did put a slice of tomato on the bottom and it complimented it perfectly. Not sure how the lettuce would have worked out. While at the store, I thought I remembered having lettuce. Turns out it had gone bad, so I did without. After trying it, I don’t think it was really necessary. The pimento cheese burger was everything I thought it would be….and more! If you haven’t tried one yet, I highly encourage you to make one.

On a side note, I told you I doubled the pimento cheese in order to have extra for sandwiches later on. While the pimento cheese worked perfectly on the burger, standing by itself for a sandwhich…not so much. Maybe the hamburger patty, bacon and bun were enough to mitigate the heat and make it seem not so hot. Maybe overnight the flavors married and intensified. Whatever the case may have been, it was way too hot to eat by itself between two slices of white bread. Really put the burn on. I would suggest either not making enough for leftovers or leave/reduce the amount of jalapenos and cayenne pepper. Other than that, I’m calling this one a success with no need for tinkering.

Jucy Lucy

Our version of the Jucy Lucy

     The Jucy Lucy. Or the Juicy Lucy. I’m sure you have heard of them before. They’ve been featured on such shows as Man vs. Food, Food Wars and Amazing Eats among others. From my research on the net (which was about 10 minutes before ADD kicked in), it seems like most people believe the Jucy Lucy was invented at Matt’s Bar in south Minneapolis. Supposedly staff wear a shirt that says, “If it’s spelled correctly, you are at the wrong place.” Long time rival, the 5-8Club, is just down the street and they spell it Juicy Lucy. They have shirts that say “If it’s spelled right, it’s done right.” Which one invented it? I don’t know. How do we even know that one of them did invent it?

     Before the internet and food shows on channels like Foodnetwork and Travel Channel, would we have even known of these places? And would we even be familiar with these names? To most of us, these are just called stuffed burgers.  I know I had one of these as a kid and nobody was running around calling them Jucy Lucys. Granted, Matt’s claims to have invented it way before I ever came along, but still, I’m sure my folks and their folks were eating them long before that. Call them stuffed burgers, call them Jucy Lucys or call them Juicy Lucys. I call them good.

Starting out innocently enough by forming four 4 oz patties

     “Wait!!” you say? “You haven’t explained what a Jucy Lucy is,” you say? Well, a Jucy Lucy is nothing more than two hamburger patties with cheese sandwiched inside, that melts as you cook it and oozes out when you take a bite. How can that not be good? How about if you add a little bacon on top? You know how we feel about bacon around here.

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

  • 1lb of 80/20 gro
  • und beef (80/20 works best on a grill and most of the fat drips out)
  • 3 slices of American cheese
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • condiments and toppings as you see fit
Lay the cheese on top of one of the patties

     Start out by forming four 4 oz patties. Next, divide your slices of cheese into 4 pieces (you should end up with 12). Place 6 of these pieces on top of one of the patties.

Top with second patty

     Take a second patty and lay it on top of the first patty and cheese. Using your hands, seal the two patties together. Make sure you have a nice seal, or all the cheese will ooze out as you cook them. Repeat with the remaining cheese and other two patties. At this point, I like to take my Jucy Lucy’s (or heck, even regular hamburgers) and toss them in the freezer for 30 minutes. I find that chilling a hamburger patty prior to cooking it, helps it to hold together better on the grill.

You like bacon, right? Why not cook it up on a cast iron skillet on your grill?

     Set up your grill for a direct cook at around 400F (or medium-high). While you are waiting for it to heat up, why not toss on a cast iron skillet and get started on your bacon?

On to a preheated grill

     These patties got seasoned with a bit of worsey sauce and just a touch of Stubb’s Burger Spice Rub. Salt and pepper, some bbq rub or any other beef rub you like would work just as well.

Flipped after 4 minutes ro so

    I like to grill my burgers for about 2 minutes, then give them a 90 degree turn to get nice hatch marks. Grill for another 2 minutes or so and then flip. Once again, grill for 2 minutes then turn 90 degrees. After about 8 minutes total, your burgers should be about done.

Topped with bacon

     I’m not going to tell you how to build your own burger. Heck, Mrs. G and I don’t even agree on that, but mine got the works this time. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup and what’s a burger without some bacon?

Ready to eat

     Jeez…that’s a mighty big burger!!

My version of the Jucy Lucy

     You don’t usually cut a Jucy Lucy in half. Part of the fun is taking a bite and having the hot, melted cheese ooze out of the burger. Great for dipping your fires into, but I wanted you to see what it looked like. I knew if I took a bite I would never pick up the camera and get a final shot for you. Ahhh…the sacrifices I make for you. Such a heavy burden to bear. 😉

Things I ‘d Do Different

  • Make the burgers smaller. There was no need to use half a pound of meat for one burger and from what I learned in my research, these are supposed to be thin patties anyway. Oh well, everything is bigger in Texas
  • Cut it down to 1 slice of cheese per burger.
  • Try a different cheese. Even though these are originally made with American cheese, and I did go to the deli counter to get good American cheese, I really don’t care for the stuff much. As a kid I did, but next time I think I am going to get a better quality cheese.
  • Not slice it before eating it. After slicing it and trying to get that “perfect picture”, the cheese had cooled down and was no longer meltedy goodness. I want it oozing out next time.

Cross One Off The Bucket List

I’ll admit it….I have a bucket list of food. Some of it are fancy places I would like to go like The French Laundry or Jean Georges or WD-50. Some are simpler places like Snow’s BBQ in Texas or Katz Deli (I’ve never been to NYC) or Drago’s in NOLA for their grilled oysters (we missed it last time). Some of it’s just food that I want to try, not necessarily from any one place, like a real Philly cheese steak or lobster mac ‘n cheese or a Chicago deep dish pizza. Heck, I even have a folder of food saved on my computer of things I want to cook someday.

Well, with Mrs. G out-of-town this week, I was able to cook somethin’ this past Friday that I know she would not be interested in, nor probably allow me to cook. Something I saw awhile back on TV, although I’m not sure who came up with the idea originally. Something that I doubt I will ever cook again, but at least I can say I had one and cross it off my list…..a grilled cheese burger! I don’t know about you, but growing up I could have lived on grilled cheese. And they weren’t any fancy kind of grilled cheese, just regular bread and plain ole American cheese. Loved ’em, couldn’t get enough of them. And what kid doesn’t like a burger? So it only makes sense to combine the two, right?

I fired up my Egg, as I was going to be doing this all outside, and threw in a CI skillet to begin to pre-heat.

Making the grilled cheese first

 Trying to plan ahead, I cooked one grilled cheese first, before throwing the burger on thinking the second grilled cheese would be done be done at the same time.

Burger and second grilled cheese going

 This burger came from the batch of meat I ground up a few days before but had frozen for a later use. Starting to smell good and I was getting hungry by this point.

Plated up

 All I can say is WOW! This was one big honking, tasty burger. The grilled cheese used as buns added a unique texture to the burger and the fresh ground meat in the pattty was wonderful. Looking back, I don’t think that this burger needed two slices of cheese per grilled cheese (for a total of 4!) and I might have made the patty a tad too big. In fact, I was only able to eat half of it before throwing in the towel. While tasty, I’m not sure I would ever make this burger again, but at least now I can cross it off my list. Wonder what I should try and make next? (Don’t worry Mrs. G and Mom, I’m already planning on having a salad for dinner tonight. )