There are few things better in life than a quality burger. Freshly ground, perfectly seasoned beef, gently seared to a caramelized crust with that deeply savory umami flavor. The bun is soft and welcoming. Maybe you’ll add some cheese, and maybe you’ll add some lettuce or tomato, a pickle perhaps. Then lashings of sauce, ketchup, barbecue, mustard, or maybe even mayo.
That’s the simple way of enjoying a burger, and you’re not wrong to do that. They are, after all, an institution. Purists among us will balk at the way the burger is treated nowadays, with some restaurants seeing the burger as an opportunity to lumber half of the kitchen pantry between two pieces of bread. Sometimes even swapping out the bread altogether for something altogether different. We’ve seen doughnuts used as buns. We’ve even seen fried chicken used as the bun with a bacon and cheese filling…
They are one in a handful of easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients that almost anyone can make. They’re straightforward, but burgers are an opportunity for everyone to be inventive. Innovation in food is to be expected and embraced. Without innovation and experimentation, the culinary world would look incredibly bland. That, frankly, is not what we’re here for. We’re here for excitement. We’re here for decadence. We’re here to enjoy ourselves.
So we turn to the greatest flavorings put alongside the humble burger. There are people willing to make themselves a martyr over the classic cheeseburger. Others insist on bacon. The barbecue fanatics insist on a deep smoky barbecue sauce, and the burger has to come from an outdoor grill. Me? I’m a cheese man.
A simple slice of American, yellow as the sun cheese, is a thing of wonderment. Monterey Jack, divine. A sharp cheddar adds a tang that enhances the savory, saltiness of the beef. These are safe options. I love cheese, and I can’t begin to imagine how wide varieties I’ve eaten over my gastronomic journey and let me tell you that almost all of them could work on a burger done correctly.
A soft Brie or Camembert with a fruity relish is fantastic. A mature, slightly crystalized Gouda will add a curious crunch and deep flavor. All good options. But nothing quite comes close to a slice of Blue. Blue cheese might not be for everyone, but in my opinion, blue cheese and a burger are a match made in heaven.
Those who don’t love blue cheese might see it as all the same, but trust me, they’re not. Blue cheese can be soft or hard, smooth or sharp, and sometimes even sweet. They all work in a burger, but some work better than others. In particular, Stilton, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort would make superb toppings. Or, for the true blue cheese burger experience, stuffed.
How To Stuff Burgers
If you can make a traditional burger patty, then you can make a stuffed burger. It sounds simple, really, but there are a few steps to follow to get it right. It’s worth practicing a few times before rolling them out for friends and family, and that’s no bad thing; you get to eat more burgers! The tricky part is ensuring that your delicious blue cheese stays where it’s meant to, stuffed in the burger, and not dripping all that tangy flavor over the grill.
Pick Your Meat
It can be tempting to pick as lean meat as possible; after all, it’s a healthy way of having a burger, but please don’t. Lean meat is missing the fat, which means that the burger’s natural way of binding is missing, and you’re left with a burger that falls apart before it makes it to the bun. 80% lean is a good spot for a succulent, well-bound burger.
Beef is the best option for blue cheese, and the meat holds its own alongside the strength of the cheese. You can, of course, try it with other meats. Pork is a solid option; turkey too. You might even try more exotic meats such as buffalo.
Form The Patties
Try to make these with as little handling as possible. Overhandling the meat causes a firm, more compact texture to the burger. Keep them thin and uniform in size. No more than about ½” thick.
Stuff The Burgers
Time to grab that blue cheese. If you’re using a Stilton-like cheese, you won’t need to use a grater as it’ll crumble in your hands. Keep the chunks relatively small and sprinkle them into the middle of half of your patties. Leave a decent amount from the edge. So your burgers look like meaty pizzas.
If you’re more of a soft blue cheese fan (Roquefort, Gorgonzola), then you can simply spread it into the middle.
Restraint is the key here. Don’t overstuff; otherwise, you’ll never be able to close them.
Seal The Burgers
Take the unfilled burgers and place them on top of the cheese. Creating a double burger stack that’s roughly 1” thick. With a smooth tool or your fingers, work around the edge so that the beef combines and the cheese can’t be seen.
It’s worth a double-check here for gaps. You don’t want cheese leaking out.
It’s Grill Time!
Grill the burgers just as you would a normal 1” thick burger. Flip them infrequently and never squeeze them down. If you can be restrained and let them sear without constant flipping, you’ll get a good crust on the meat. That’s where the flavor is. For best results use an outdoor charcoal grill, but there’s always a place for the convenience of a gas grill.
If you’re a thermometer user, you’ll ideally want to see a read of 165° for complete doneness.
The Ultimate Stuffed Blue Cheese Burger
- 1lb Ground 80% to 85% lean beef – if you can get a chuck or skirt and get it ground, you’ll notice the difference. Brisket works great in combination with other ground beef.
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- A flakey salt (Maldron if you can) and freshly ground black pepper.
- Four oz. Blue cheese of your choice
- In a large bowl, season the beef with the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper – work quickly at this point as the salt will begin to break down the protein and draws out moisture from the beef.
- Mix everything together, and be wary of overworking.
- Form 8 patties, roughly ½” thick.
- Using 4 of the patties, push in slightly, so you form a well.
- Fill the four wells with your blue cheese of choice. Remember not to overfill; less is more.
- Place the other four patties on top of the filled ones and gently seal.
- Refrigerate for between 20 minutes to 4 hours. This helps seal in the cheese.
- Fire up the grill and, when it’s at cooking temperature, place the burgers onto it.
- Patience! Don’t constantly flip or squeeze the burgers. You want flavor from char and for the filling to stay put!
- Depending on how rare you like your burgers, they’ll be cooked in between 4-8 minutes.
- Serve immediately into a toasted bun with the topping of choice. Go easy on the sauce; you want to enjoy the blue cheese.
There you have it, the ultimate stuffed blue cheese burger. You’ll only need to try one of these to be converted for the rest of your life. It just works. Our suggestion? It’s worth learning this recipe well; your friends and family will be demanding it as soon as they’ve had a bite. You won’t blame them for it.