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Blue-Cheese Stuffed Burgers

When I was a kid, the cartoon, Popeye the Sailor Man, captured my heart. Created by cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye was an underdog with bulging forearms and a mean uppercut. He loved eating canned spinach and had a girlfriend named Olive Oil. My favorite character in this cartoon, however, was J. Wellington Wimpy who loved to eat hamburgers but was too cheap to pay for them. Wimpy hung out at diners and would attempt to con patrons of the diner into buying him a hamburger with this famous line, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” I laughed myself silly every time Wimpy said this, wondering how could anyone be that gullible?

As with any popular food, everyone wants to take credit for inventing the hamburger. Just where and when it was created is a long-drawn-out story, but many food historians believe Wimpy played a significant role in popularizing the hamburger in the United States. Wimpy’s character even spawned a successful chain of 1,500 hamburger restaurants called, you guessed it, Wimpy’s, where hamburgers sold for ten cents.  

Wimpy joined the Popeye series in 1931 during the Great Depression. Looking back, I suppose many people struggles to buy groceries and probably felt a lot like Wimpy—they would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

The hamburger has evolved since Wimpy’s days. We top them with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, spicy aioli, avocado, jalapeños, and even fried eggs—just to name a few. Following is my family’s favorite hamburger recipe. My Blue-Cheese Stuffed Burger is so delicious I believe Wimpy would gladly pay me today for a hamburger on Tuesday. Try it at your Labor Day barbecue.

Blue-Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers Makes 4 Patties 2 pounds ground sirloin steak (or any lean ground beef) 3 tablespoons fresh snipped chives 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Preheat the grill to a high heat. In a large bowl, gently mix ground sirloin steak, chives, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Shape beef mixture into 4 thick patties. Make a pocket in the center of each patty, fill with blue cheese, and cover cheese with meat so that the burger is stuffed with cheese. Grill patties over a high heat, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Serve with: Sesame seed buns Sliced tomatoes Thinly sliced red onions Arugula or spinach leaves Your favorite pickles Mayonnaise Ketchup Mustard (If you are a true blue-cheese lover, sprinkle with additional cheese.) Cooking tip: To make the pockets: Form the ground beef into thick patties. Use a steak knife and begin ¼ inch from one edge. Slice down into patty about ¼ inch then continue to cut across patty to the other side, stopping about ¼ inch from edge. The top should resemble a flap.

Cooking tip: Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. Hamburgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Storage tip: It is best not to keep fresh ground beef in your refrigerator for more than 1 or 2 days. If you can’t use it within this time frame, freeze it. When exposed to oxygen, ground beef will become a rosy-red color. Sometimes you may find the center of a package of ground beef has darkened. This is not harmful. This is the result of lack of exposure to oxygen. If you have concerns about ground beef, check the smell. It should be fresh, not sour, and the meat should feel moist not slimy.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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