Burger Month: Spicy Juicy Lucy Burger

If you were unaware, May is National Burger Month. (It's also National Salad Month as a cosmic kind of joke.) My friend, Rodney AKA @Burgerjunkies, is the leader of the Sacramento burger brigade and is working diligently to bring about Sacramento burger awareness twofold.

Firstly he has his SacBurgerMonth.com website where he is giving away a great prize: a Canon Digital SLR Camera. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”): $750. It's easy to enter through a variety of methods, including tweeting with the hashtag #SacBurgerMonth and checking into places on Foursquare, etc. 

dessert burger
There is also a list of participating restaurants. Don't forget to try the burger named after him at The Eatery, the Junky Burger (review). While you are there, ask about the other off-menu item - the dessert burger! There is also the weekly specialty burger at De Vere's Pub. Yesterday we tried the Backwoods Burger (available thru 5/20) which had a chuck patty, fried pimento mac & cheese, crispy kale, red onion, smoked ham, Amer. bacon, and a tomato chutney.

Then in September he's holding a Sac Burger Battle between the some of the top restaurants/chefs in the city. Judged by a panel and by the public, he hopes to award Sacramento's top burger on September 18th, National Cheeseburger Day.

I figured I should post a burger recipe for burger month. Lately I've been eating bunless burgers to try and eliminate those extra carby calories (burgers are dangerous enough), thus no buns in the photos. I've actually found that when you are eating some of these monster restaurant burgers, bunless is both easier to deal with and allows you to focus on the components of their fancy combinations.

Recently I've made the switch to buying my ground beef from Lucky Dog Ranch. They sell at the Sunday farmers market and after the disgust of the pink slime debacle, I wanted to try something better. Ground beef in the supermarket theoretically could have the DNA from 500 cows in it because they slaughter the animals and grind up all the extra meat used in ground beef together. It's just another scary thing about ground beef. Buying from a single source ranch gets you closer to grinding your own from steak. At least your ground beef is coming from the same herd, ranch, possibly cow. Lucky Dog's herds are free grazing and free of hormones and antibiotics. There is peace of mind when you know more about where your food is coming from.

I chose to make a Juicy Lucy style burger after having fallen in love with the The Golden Bear's Juicy Lucy.  A Juicy Lucy has cheese in the middle that should, in a perfect world, ooze out of the center when you bite/cut into it. Researching on the internet also tells you that you are supposed to use American cheese because it works the best for the melt factor. Jack is another consideration, but not always as successful.  I wanted a spicy Juicy Lucy, so I went for spicy pepper jack cheese and threw in some fontina for good melty measure. As you can see below, it was just starting to get to that oozy stage when I took it off the grill for medium rare. Still, a tasty overall success.

Spicy Juicy Lucy

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1-2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (depending on your spice tolerance)
slices of pepper jack cheese
sliced jalapenos (optional)

Mix together the ground beef and Cajun seasoning until the seasoning is thoroughly incorporated throughout the meat. Try not to overhandle the meat.

Separate the beef into 8 equal portions and form into flat patties.

Cut a slice of cheese into four and stack the small four slices together. Place the stack between two of the burger patties. Seal the edges of the two patties together by pinching and crimping. You don't want the cheese to leak out. Repeat to create 4 finished burgers. Optional: add a slice or two of jalapeno inside as well.

Grill burgers 3-4 minutes per side. The burger will probably puff up. After you flip it to cook the other side, place a slice of cheese on top to melt.

Serve quickly to enjoy the inside cheese at its meltiest.