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Recipes for grilled stuffed burgers

Pimento cheese, caramelized garlic and fontina, sundried tomato and provolone, and goat cheese and shallots elevate the experience.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Pimento cheese-stuffed burgers on toasted english muffins.

Classic though the Juicy Lucy may be — a ground beef burger that’s stuffed with American cheese — it’s rewarding when you get more creative with your burger fillings. Pimento cheese, the seasoned cheddar mixture that’s a staple in Southern kitchens, recalls American cheese, but brings more complex, distinct flavors to the equation. Caramelized garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese with shallots and lemon also make more daring, and mighty tasty, fillings for your next burger.


Serves 6

You can buy delicious pre-made pimento cheese at Pemberton Farms and Garden Center in Cambridge or see this story from a few years back for my own recipe.

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2¼ pounds ground chuck, preferably 85 percent lean

Salt and pepper

¾ cup homemade or store-bought pimento cheese, cold

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6 toasted English muffins or buns for serving, optional

Divide meat into 6 equal portions. Divide each portion in half and press each into a roughly 4-inch round; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Place about 2 tablespoons of the pimento cheese in the center of 6 of the rounds, top with the remaining rounds, and carefully pinch the tops and bottoms together all the way around, making sure to seal the patties so the cheese won’t leak when they are cooked. Gently press a shallow divot into the top of each burger if desired (do not break through to the filling). Sprinkle the outsides of the burgers lightly with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes (if using gas, leave the burners on high and grill with the lid closed). Clean and oil the grill grate and grill the burgers directly over the flame, undisturbed, until grill-marked on the bottom, 4 to 4½ minutes. Gently flip the burgers and continue grilling until bottom is grill-marked and meat is medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer, or medium, 4½ to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the burgers to a plate, tent loosely with foil, rest for about 3 minutes, and serve at once, on toasted English muffins or buns if desired.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP: Work carefully when you pinch the two patties closed over the filling, making sure to seal them and prevent the cheese from leaking out while the burger cooks.



Follow the recipe for Pimento Cheese-Stuffed Burgers, making the following changes:

1) Omit the pimento cheese.

2) In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup finely chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 2/3 cup grated sharp provolone cheese, and ¼ cup chopped fresh basil.

3) Use in place of the pimento cheese.


The garlic should cook in about ¼ inch of oil, the exact volume of which will depend on the size of your pan. You can cool and save the garlic-infused cooking oil and any extra caramelized garlic cloves for salads or pasta.

Follow the recipe for Pimento Cheese-Stuffed Burgers, making the following changes:

1) Omit the pimento cheese.

2) Break apart 2 medium heads of garlic into cloves and peel. It’s OK if the garlic cloves break apart.

3) In a very small skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/4 inch of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt, and saute until medium golden brown, 8 to 11 minutes (do not overcook). With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic.

In a small bowl, mix 6 tablespoons caramelized garlic (save any extra for another use) and 2/3 cup grated fontina cheese.

4) Use in place of the pimento cheese.


Follow the recipe for Pimento Cheese-Stuffed Burgers, making the following changes:

1) Omit the pimento cheese.

2) In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until shimmering. Add 1 cup finely chopped shallots (about 4 large) and ½ teaspoon salt, and saute until just softened, about 3½ minutes. Add 1 minced garlic clove and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add 1/3 cup room-temperature fresh goat cheese and ¼ cup minced scallion whites and greens, and beat until uniform (you should have about 1 scant cup). Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt if necessary and pepper to taste.

3) Cover and chill at least 45 minutes, and use in place of the pimento cheese.

Adam Ried appears regularly on America’s Test Kitchen. Send comments to

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