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Take Your Fourth Of July Burgers Up A Notch

Fourth of July celebrations often take place in the backyard by the grill, and this year marks a perfect opportunity to expand your culinary repertoire. This recipe for “Best Burger With Blue Cheese Butter” courtesy of Eric Treuille and Birgit Erath’s “Grilling” (DK Publishing) offers a new take on a backyard barbecue staple.
Best Burger With Blue Cheese Butter
Serves 4

1 pound ground chuck steak
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 1⁄2-inch slices blue cheese butter (see below)
4 sesame hamburger buns, halved

Combine ground steak with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 equal-sized pieces and gently shape into 4 burgers about 1-inch-thick. Grill burgers and warm buns according to instructions below. Top burgers with butter and serve hot in sesame buns.
Outdoor cooking:
Grill over hot coals for 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 minutes per side for medium rare, or 5 minutes per side for well done. Place buns cut side down on grill until warm and lightly golden, 1 minute.
Indoor cooking:
Preheat a ridged cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Cook for 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 minutes per side for medium rare, or 5 minutes per side for well done. Place buns cut side down on grill pan until warm lightly golden, 1 minute.

Blue-Cheese Butter
Makes 15 servings

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces (1 cup crumbled) blue cheese
2 teaspoons black pepper

Place ingredients in a food processor or blender; pulse until well blended. Wrap in foil. Place in the freezer until hard, about 45 minutes. To serve, roll back foil and cut into 1⁄2-inch slices. When slicing from frozen, warm the knife under hot water first. After slicing, always tightly rewrap the unused flavored butter roll in the foil before returning to refrigerator or freezer.

Best Burger Variations
• Herbed Burger: Add 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion to the ground steak.
• Spicy Burger: Add 1⁄2 teaspoon tabasco, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard to the ground steak.

Think ahead:
Shape burgers up to 1 day in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Cooks’ Note: Overhandling the meat when shaping will result in a tough, dry burger. To guarantee a juicy burger, handle the meat as little as possible.

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