Ina Garten’s Hidden Trick Has Changed the Way I’ll Make Burgers Forever

updated Jul 20, 2023
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Ina Garten leaning against a counter in a large kitchen
Credit: Talaya Centeno/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock

As a longtime fan of blue-cheese burgers, it’s no surprise that this photo of Ina Garten’s blue-cheese-loaded burger snapped me right out of my Insta-scrolling daze. Curious to discover what ingenious burger tricks Ina had up her sleeve, I followed the link to find that this burger has not one, not two, but three sneaky tips not mentioned in the initial post. Ina’s secret to amazing burgers? Steak sauce, cold butter, and a lot of egg yolks!

First, the burger meat is mixed with egg yolks, a technique I’d heard about for meatballs but had never thought to apply to burgers. Next, a pat of cold butter is hidden inside each patty to amplify the richness of the burgers — never a bad idea, in my opinion. Finally, a splash of steak sauce provides an oomph of umami and some sweet, smoky flavor.

Intrigued and intensely craving a burger, I decided I had to try this recipe myself to see if these add-ins were worth repeating. 

How to Make Ina’s Blue Cheese Burger

To make Ina’s burger, start by combining ground chuck, ground sirloin, steak sauce, egg yolks, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. Use a fork to gently but thoroughly mix all the ingredients together, as overworked meat can lead to a tough patty.

Credit: Lena Abraham

Next, form your mixture into eight burger patties. Add cold unsalted butter to the center of each burger patty, forming the meat around the butter until it is fully encased. Grill or pan-sear the burgers for four minutes on one side, then flip and cook for three minutes more for medium-rare.

Once the burgers are cooked, transfer them to a large plate and cover them loosely with a piece of foil to keep them warm. Let the burgers rest for five minutes before serving them on toasted brioche buns topped with sliced tomato, blue cheese, and arugula.

Credit: Lena Abraham

So, How Does It Taste?

As I suspected, this is one juicy burger. The richness from the egg yolks and butter definitely came through in the texture and flavor of the meat, which may have been too rich were it not for the peppery arugula, acidic tomato, and tangy blue cheese to balance it. The flavor of the steak sauce was subtle but definitely there, lending a touch of sweetness to contrast the deeply savory flavors.

Credit: Lena Abraham

Although I don’t think it’s necessary to add butter and egg yolks to any ol’ backyard burger, their additions do make for a deliciously hearty burger, especially when paired with assertive toppings. If there’s one thing you should definitely take from this recipe, it’s resting the burgers for five minutes to lock in all those hard-earned juices. Just make sure to cover them well with foil to keep them nice and warm for serving.

If You’re Going to Try This Recipe, Here Are a Few Tips

  1. Buy your blue cheese whole, not crumbled. Whole blue cheese tends to maintain freshness and moisture better than its pre-crumbled counterpart. It’s also easier to add it to your burger in a thick slice.
  2. Season your tomatoes. Tomatoes always taste better with a sprinkle of salt and some freshly cracked pepper.
  3. Halve the recipe to make four burgers. This recipe makes a whopping eight to 10 burgers. It can easily be halved to yield four sizable burgers if you don’t have a crowd to feed.

Get the recipe: Blue Cheese Burgers