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Perfect for July 4th - Burger Grill

Posted: Friday, Jun. 29, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

With grilling season here, even if a little too hot outside, the time has come to get outside and grill. Nothing is more popular to grill than hamburgers. Sounds easy enough, however there are some tips that will ensure burger success.

Choosing the type of meat to use is the single most important factor to a great hamburger. Although “burgers” can be made with various types of meats, the most common is beef. There are many variables to consider when deciding on the type of beef to use, but the fat content of the beef is the most important.

Ground sirloin is very tender and has a thin marbling of fat running through it, which is the perfect combination. Ground chuck is a great alternative. It also has a great marbling of fat and is usually less expensive than ground sirloin.

The percentage of fat is noted on the package of all ground meat products, the best fat/meat ratio for hamburgers is 80/20, meaning that it is 20% fat and 80% meat.

Patties should be portioned into equal sizes for grilling consistency. Gently press when forming patties or the hamburgers will be compact and dense. Make the center of the patty a little thinner. This will prevent the burger from being over “plump” as they cook and allow them to become rounded and thicker in the middle, making it harder to cook to the proper done-ness.

Seasoning should be simple and generous, good kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper is all you need.

Whether grilling on gas or charcoal, use a medium high and direct heat, meaning the flame or fire should be directly under the hamburgers.

The most common mistake while grilling hamburger is the urge to want to move them or flip them. Once you place the burgers on the grill let them cook for at least 2 to 3 minutes before attempting to turn or flip.

The perfect burger is charred on the outside while remaining juicy on the inside. If you practice these techniques, you soon will be a burger master.

Chipotle Pimento Cheese & Bacon Double Decker Burgers

Makes 4 Stuffed Burgers

2 pounds ground chuck or ground sirloin

4 each, hamburger bun, 4” diameter

Kosher salt, black pepper, to taste

8 slices, thick sliced bacon, cut in half, cooked and drained

2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded, very thin sliced by hand

1 each, red onion, cut into 4 thick pieces

1 each, roma tomato, sliced thin

Pimento Cheese:

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated

3 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chipotle puree, canned in Adobo sauce, blend until smooth

Green onion, reserved bottoms, chopped very fine

3 tablespoons pimentos, chopped

Mix all ingredients for Pimento Cheese together to completely combine. Then cover and refrigerate.

Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to medium high heat, about 475 degrees.


Divide meat into 8 equal portions, about 4 ounces each. Make thin round patties about 5 inches in diameter and season generously on both sides of patties.

Lightly oil and season both sides of the onion slices, keeping each slice intact.

Place patties and onions on grill over direct heat, cook untouched for 2 minutes and flip. Top each burger patty with equal portions of the chipotle pimento cheese and close lid.

Cook until pimento cheese is melted and gooey, about 2 minutes. If burgers are done but the cheese hasn’t melted, place burger on top shelf over indirect heat, until melted.

Remove four burgers from the grill and place on a plate, top each burger with a slice of bacon (brake in half), top with remaining four burgers and remaining bacon. Remove the onions, keeping each slice intact. Lightly grill inside of buns.

Add lettuce and tomato to the bottom bun, top with a stack of burgers, top with a slice of grilled onion, top bun and serve.

* If double-decker burgers aren’t your thing, use an additional 4 buns.

*Or make stuffed burgers by laying out four of the raw patties. Place a few tablespoons of the chipotle pimento cheese in the center, leaving an edge around the outer edge. Top each with the remaining four raw patties, seal by pinching edges together. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before grilling.

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