We hope everyone had a safe and fun Fourth of July celebration. We had a very pleasant day, although we seriously overate (look at the size of that burger) and blew our diet out of proportion yet again.
Independence Day is always a fun day around here. We live only 4 blocks from the city park where the city has its Fourth of July Family Fireworks Extravaganza. As such we are never wanting for something to do on the Fourth of July. The park begins to fill up early in the afternoon and there’s food, festivities, live music and then a 30 – 45 minute fireworks display around 9:30 pm. It’s pretty neat. Generally, however, we only show up for the fireworks display. The years take their toll on your ability to take the heat and sun but that’s OK as we still have fun anyway.
Because Independence Day is in the summertime Fourth of July food typically revolves around grilling. Not having had a good burger in a while Baby Lady decided we would do stuffed hamburgers for Independence Day. They’re kinda fun to make and, if you’ve never had one, they are really good. The only limit on what you can use to stuff these burgers is the extent of your imagination.
Now Bay Lady wanted a ground turkey burger and I wanted a sirloin burger. So, off to the market we went. Baby Lady found some nice ground turkey and I found a nice sirloin steak. Both of these were lean so they had to have fat added to them. There is nothing worse than a dry burger. So, in order to add a little fat content to the meat I found some cured, uncooked salt pork. This is perfect for adding to burgers because you get the nice pork flavor, the salt and fat to keep the burger moist. Next, came the stuffing. Baby Lady and I like blue cheese but Quickstep likes his kicked up a notch so we found him some nice Habanero Cheddar. Finally, we found a package of bakery made burger buns and we were set. Now, it was time to get back to the house before the city closes the streets to the subdivision to keep people from parking in front of the houses.
- 1.5 lb top sirloin
- 1.5 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb cured, uncooked salt pork
- bacon, 2 strips per burger
- 2 slices avocado diced (for Quickstep)
- 2 oz Habanero cheddar cheese, rated (for Quickstep)
- 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (for Baby Lady and me)
Now, you really don’t need to buy top sirloin to make a hamburger and you can buy whatever your market has available. I just don’t eat a whole lot of red meat. It’s kind of a treat for me when I do so I buy my own meat and grind it. I find grinding my own meat allows me more control over the quality, the flavor and the fat content. If you want to grind your own burger meat, this is a good guide to follow.
First, get your meat grinder out and install the largest hole plate. Cut the fat from the sirloin, cube it and weigh it. You need to know the fat content to determine how much salt pork to add. I like an 80-20 blend. I find an 80-20 blend provides great flavor and keeps the burgers moist. Cube the sirloin. Determine how much more fat you need. Cut and cube a sufficient quantity of salt pork to get the desired blend. Now, run the meat and fat through the grinder. When completed, remove the large hole grinder plate and replace it with the smaller hole grinder plate. Run the mixture through the grinder again trying to mix the fat in with the beef. When done mix the meat and fat to ensure even incorporation of fat throughout the mixture.
Roll the meat into balls. This mix of beef made 4 balls. One 8 oz. ball (for Quickstep) and 3 6 oz balls. We also got 4 balls out of the turkey.
Now you have a decision to make, if you have ground your own meat. Because you ground your own meat, the meat has become room temperature by now. You now may want to refrigerate the meat for 10 minutes because cold meat will work better as the fat coagulates and provides a stiffer texture to work with. Regardless, split the balls into 2 equal size balls. There are many ways to make burger patties but for neatness sake and to ensure there are no leaks, I use a 3 inch diameter ring mold.
Take the first smaller ball and place in the ring mold. Flatten the meat with your knuckles and fingers until it fills the perimeter of the ring. Make sure you have left a small, shallow bowl in the center of the meat for the stuffing. Now add your ingredients, in this case I started with the avocado, then the habanero cheddar cheese (no photo of the cheese unfortunately)
Now, take the second small ball of meat and begin to form the patty in your hand. When it is relatively flattened, put it in the ring mold and press on it to fill the perimeter of the ring.
When you have the top in place, remove the stuffed patty from the ring mold. You will notice a seam all the way around the patty. Pinch the seam with your fingers to get a good seal. Then mold the patty so it will fit back into the ring mold and press down. This will give you a good seal that will not leak during the grilling process.
Now, criss-cross wrap the patty in two pieces of bacon.
Now, when I cook burgers like this, I don’t like to grill them. The amount of fat in the bacon creates a lot of flame. Instead, I crank up the smoker to 450 F. I place the burgers close to the fire pit. There is high heat but it is indirect heat allowing the burgers to cook, including the bacon, but not burn. A stuffed burger typically takes 4 minutes per side. These were absolutely delicious.
The above picture was Quickstep’s burger. He wouldn’t let me get a photo of his cut in half showing the gooey cheese and nice avocado because he was hungry. Drat! Below is my blue cheese burger. Look how juicy it was.
If you ever want to try something new for a burger, remember to try stuffed burgers. See what your imagination can come up with.
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