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The Farmstead Burger
Features - Farmers and Markets
Written by Jon Ross-Wiley   

Some days you just want a good cheeseburger.  I had one of those days recently.  It was bad. Nothing was going to come between me and this cheeseburger. But where to get the goods?  I have a few "go-to" spots where I know I can count on an excellent array of cheese choices and top-quality, grass-fed beef.  On this day, though, I was alerted to a farmers' market going on in Waltham that I hadn't yet attended. (See Michelle Collins' piece directly below for more information on the market.)  I thought I'd try my luck. And lucky I was.


It is early in the farmers' market season here in the Boston area, so I was pleased to find all I needed under one market tent.  This tent belonged to Smith's Farmstead from Winchendon, Massachusetts.  I poked through a number of their cheese samples, and decided on a variety referred to as "Rat Cheddar."  Sounds tasty, right? The Rat Cheddar is aged 3 to 4 years which makes it very intense in both aroma and flavor. I will say, it is an acquired taste, but apparently, I have acquired it.  For milder fare, they offer a medium cheddar (aged 2 months), a sharp cheddar (aged 4-6 months), and an extra-sharp cheddar (aged 9-12 months).  I recommend going to Smth's Farmsteads website, to see the vast array of cheeses, which, conveniently enough, you can order right then and there along with many other products they offer.

With ingredients in hand, I scooted right home to get to work on my mammoth burger.  Below is a recipe for a burger I've come to know as the "Juicy Lucy." Apparently, there is a turf war about this burger in South Minneapolis. Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club, both in Minneapolis, claim to have invented this gem, which is essentially a cheeseburger with an interesting and delicious twist.  The cheese is on the inside of the burger as opposed to on top. It is easy to prepare and the payoff is sinfully good. Paying homage to the folks that produced these wonderful ingredients, I am calling this particular delight, "The Farmstead Burger."


The Farmstead Burger



1 lb. ground beef (2 4oz. ground beef patties per burger)

4 "pats" of cheese (1 1/2 in. squares, approx. 1/4 in. thick)

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. kosher salt 


Add all spices to the ground beef and work into the meat with your hands being careful not to "over handle" the mixture.  A few good kneads will do the trick.  Make 4 burger patties. In the center of one of the patties, add 2 of the cheese "pats", then place another patty on top.  Pinch the edges to seal the two patties together.  This usually suffices, but my personal preference is to go one step further.  I like to take this "super patty" and make a ball out of it and then flatten it again.  This step simply ensures that there are no gaps between the two patties. Place on a hot grill or grill pan if cooking indoors. Cook to desired doneness and top with your favorite condiments.  Mine? Sriracha.





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