Captain Peter here, filling in for my buccaneer bride, Kristin as she finishes her final week of swashbuckling across Afghanistan (huh??)
It was July 4, and while we did all of our prep work on the sailboat, we were also cooking for dockside fireworks with our little marina community. That meant we’d need food in larger quantities than usual.
Stuffed burgers were on the menu, so to attempt quantities for a more typical cruising menu, I tried three variations on the theme:
- The Chili Burger: Chili, cheddar and sautéed jalapenos
- the Bacon-Bleu: You guessed it – bacon and bleu cheese
- the Monkey Burger: You’ll never guess…. Pickles, fresh onion, white cheddar bar-b-que sauce, and pineapple-habanero salsa
The idea for these burgers is simple enough, and the only sane way to eat a somewhat gourmet burger on a sailboat: Put the good stuff inside… No condiments necessary! The beauty of these is that one can really put just about anything in the filling, so long as it’s chopped up nice and small.
Ingredients (for 18 burgers)
6 lbs ground hamburger meat (1/3 lb per stuffed burger)
1 bunch green onions
Filling for four (4) Bacon-Bleu burgers
4 slices of bacon
2 ounces bleu cheese
Filling for four (4) Monkey-burgers
3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped sweet pickles
2 heaping tablespoons chopped white onion
1 oz. grated white cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons of your favorite barbeque sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
4 tablespoons of roasted pineapple habanero sauce
Filling for ten (10) Chili-Jalapeno burgers
7 oz chili (I like Tony Packo’s Hot Dog Sauce)
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 on grated sharp cheddar cheese
The base for all of these recipes is sautéed green onions. While simple, it carries a superior flavor that is really noticed. There’s a real advantage to using bacon as one of your ingredients. First, cook your bacon and set aside the bacon.
Use the bacon drippings to sauté your green onions until fully wilted. I also used the bacon drippings to sauté my jalapenos. Of course, you can always default back to using butter or an alternative grease, but bacon grease certainly compliments the ground beef.
For each of the fillings, proportion out your green onions, or about 1-2 tablespoons for 4 burgers. Then thoroughly mix the remaining ingredients together with a fork.
Then you’re ready for the messy part – making the burger patties:
Take some beef and make a normal 4” burger, but press it thin in the center to contain a healthy tablespoon or so of filling. Then, press out a second corresponding thin patty and lie on top of the first to encapsulate the stuffing goodness.
Using your fingers, press the two patties firmly together around the whole circumference, and the result is something wonderful, filled with surprise!
Continue making stuffed patties until your ingredients have been used up as best you can. To cook, you can use a frying pan or your grill. As this was for a large group of yachties, and sausages and chicken were also being prepared, we were pretty happy using a charcoal grill on the dock, rather than the propane grill on our transom (never a good idea while in the slip). On the hook, a transom grill or the stove down below would be just fine.
I didn’t have a chance for a final presentation photo because these were snatched right from the fire. Luckily, I quickly managed one last sighting before they were all gone!
While it was admittedly an experiment, consistent feedback for Best Burger Ever was “that thing with the pickles!”
Happy Birthday America,