I grew up in Chicago, so there's not a part of me left that can be surprised when the thermostat shoots right past 90 in July and the air feels like it sticks to you. I have learned many a coping mechanism, central air foremost among them. I can recommend popsicles, a dash through the neighbor's sprinkler, baring more skin than you cover, and doing all of your cooking outside on the grill.
I was not thrilled to be sidelined to my parents' house for the summer – my apartment had a nicer kitchen, for one – but there are perks. Including two grills, a backyard, and someone else's tab to buy meat on.
These burgers are probably the best home burgers I've made yet, and top a lot of the ones I've eaten in restaurants. I snapped a few photos very quickly and then shoved this burger in my mouth, hoping that I'd have a few usable shots. Luckily, I was shooting outside, so the lighting was already perfect.
Look, I'm assuming I don't need to sell you on blue cheese and onions with burgers. This recipe, has a few small touches that makes those flavors sing, turning blue cheese into a spread with a hint of hot sauce so it doesn't fall off your burger and adding sherry to the onions to add some welcome acidity. And, bonus, it doesn't take too much more time to prepare than unwrapping American cheese and overcooking frozen burgers. So what are you waiting for? Go start a fire.
burgers with blue cheese and sherried vidalia onions
Adapted from The New Way to Cook Light
Notes: This is a Cooking Light publication, so naturally they wanted me to use ground sirloin and whole wheat buns. I think the photos make it clear that I did not. I like living on the edge. I also apologize for the informal tone of the instructions; it was hard to be serious about burgers.
1/2 cup (2 ounces) of crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup canola or olive oil mayo
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (I used 1/2 of dried)
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 lb ground beef, I used an 85/15 blend
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
4 1/4 inch thick slices of Vidalia onion
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or sherry wine
4 hamburger buns
Tomato and arugula, optional for topping
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, if you're using gas, or prepare a charcoal grill for direct heat. Oil the cooking grates (please don't spray cooking spray onto a hot fire – either do it before setting down the grate or by using tongs holding a paper towel dipped in oil).
Combine the blue cheese, mayo, half of the thyme, and the hot sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
Form the beef into four patties: you want them to stay together but be gentle! Salt and pepper the patties on both sides. Brush the onion slices on both sides with some olive oil.
Place the onions on the grill. Grill three minutes on each side. Remove from the grill, and place them in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and let stand five minutes, then toss with the remaining thyme and the sherry.
While you are waiting on the onions, place the beef patties on the grill. Grill about 3-4 minutes each, maybe a little more if you keep the grill open. Remove the beef from the grill and let stand.
At some point, you might want to toast those hamburger buns. Do that if you haven't already, and then spread the sauce evenly on the bottom halves of the buns. Add tomato and arugula if you want. Put a burger patty on top, then an onion slice, and then the rest of the bun. Repeat x4. You know what to do next.***
***Eat it. You eat it.