Not every cooking endeavor is going to work out perfectly.
I had a bunch of frozen ground chuck patties in the freezer purchased as part of the Falvo Family Pak that were awaiting my preparation.
I had exactly ten quarter pound patties, so I thought it would be fun to try and make Franken-burgers by forming two burgers into one massive half pounder with some good cheddar cheese in between them. Hey, on paper, you know it sounds good, and it works for Robert Irvine all the time on Dinner: Impossible. Between the cheese in the center, and my intended method of cooking, the tried and true cast iron skillet at full blast, there was no way these were going to be dry.
So on a recent trip to The Meat House, I came across some aged 3 year Canadian white cheddar cheese.
I shaved the cheese nice and thin, and started laying it in the center of one set of patties.
I sealed patties onto the tops of these.
A close inspection of the above image would reveal that they were not sealed as nicely as I would have wanted. The main reason for this, I believe, is that they were stored poorly in my freezer, and, upon defrosting, the patties were exposed to too much water.
I cooked them in batches in the cast iron skillet. [Of course, I added salt and pepper.]
Almost immediately after touching the pan, the imperfections in the seals became even more obvious. I was sure I was going to have a melty, cheesy cast iron pan that was going to be a pain in the ass to clean.
But, after I flipped the burgers, the cheese stayed put.
Because I chose an aged cheddar, the low moisture content helped keep the cheese from melting into a gooey mess onto the skillet.
I cooked these to medium well, just because they may have been in the freezer a bit long, so I didn’t want to take any chances.
I didn’t use all of them in one sitting, so I stored them in my finest pieces of plasticwear for future consumption.
From the burger in the top left, you can see that the cheese did a nice job adhering to both patties and didn’t flow outside. As I reheated each franken-burger, the cheese added a nice sharp bite to the burgers. Personally, I ate the burgers au natural with no bun, but these would be great on a nice bun or maybe ciabatta bread.
I think this idea would work if the meat were actually fresh. I also think that starting with pure beef patties is starting with a handicap. We all know that the best burgers start with a nicely seasoned bit of ground meat, almost like a meatloaf mix or meatball mix. So I think starting with some nicely seasoned fresh beef, pork, and lamb and then stuffing that mixture with the cheddar cheese and sealing them into burger patties, would be the way to go.
While I’m chalking this up to an overall kitchen failure, I was at least successful at sprucing up something that was in my freezer that was probably just going to get cooked up with no in depth preparation whatsoever. In that regard, it was a roaring success!