There is a lively debate about which cook came up with the Juicy Lucy, which puts cheese inside a cheeseburger instead of on top. No matter where the Juicy Lucy/Jucy Lucy originated, this genius concept is a definite Minnesota favorite. And you can put your own twist on the Juicy Lucy with this recipe chef and cookbook author Molly Stevens created for Real Food that uses bison meat rather than traditional ground beef. According to Stevens, the cheese in the middle is the perfect solution to keeping the leaner, more protein-rich meat of a bison burger moist and juicy. Grilled onions and a “special” sauce don’t hurt the flavor profile, either. This recipe uses blue cheese, but if you prefer a different cheese such as cheddar or Swiss, those would work well, too.
Blue Cheese Stuffed Bison Burgers with Grilled Onions
Makes 6 Servings
For the Cheese Filling
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1½ ounces)
1 tablespoon minced scallion, white and green parts
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
For the Burgers
2 pounds ground bison
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 large sweet onion, cut into 6 thick rings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
dash Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
salt, to taste
6 hamburger buns, English muffins, or split focaccia
Optional toppings: sliced ripe tomatoes, lettuce, pickles
- Make the cheese filling: In a small bowl, combine the cheese, scallion, and mayonnaise. Stir to mix and set aside while you shape the burgers.
- Break the ground bison into 1- to 2-inch bits with your hands and drop into a mixing bowl. Season with Worcestershire, salt, and black pepper. Mix gently using your fingertips to break up the meat and to incorporate the seasonings without compressing the meat. Divide into 6 equal lumps, and then divide each portion again in half, so you have a total of 12 small portions (see Cook’s Note). Lightly shape each into a thin patty, about 4 inches across.
- Divide the cheese filling evenly among 6 of the flat patties flattening and centering it so it doesn’t spill to the edges. Top each with another flat patty, gently pinching the edges and rounding the meat to make 6 evenly shaped burgers, about 1¼-inch thick, without packing or squeezing the meat more than necessary. The burgers can be stuffed, shaped, and then covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours before grilling.
- Make the sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and more hot sauce to taste. The sauce may be made ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- Heat a grill to medium hot. Lightly brush the outside of the burgers and the onion rings with oil, and season both with salt and pepper. Arrange the burgers and onions on the grill and cover the grill. Cook, flipping several times, until the onions are tender and browned and the burgers are done to your liking, about 8 minutes for the onions and 15 minutes for the burgers. Once the onions are done, set them off to the side to keep warm while the burgers finish cooking.
- Transfer the burgers and onions to a platter to rest for a few minutes while you toast the rolls (or English muffins or split focaccia) on the grill.
- Slather sauce on both sides of the buns. Top with the burgers and grilled onions, adding any optional garnishes. Drizzle over a bit more sauce, and serve.
The easiest way to make equal-sized burgers (without weighing each) is to eyeball even portions and arrange them, before shaping, on a large plate. This way you can add a little here and remove a little there until you have 6 equal-size lumps to start with. If you want to be more exact and have a kitchen scale handy, weigh out 5.3 ounces per burger before shaping.
Nutrition info Stuffed Bison Burgers (Per Serving): Calories 551 (304 From Fat); Fat 34g (Sat. 9g); Chol 97mg; Sodium 781mg; Carb 25g; Fiber 1g; Protein 36g