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The Ultimate Mac-and-Cheese Burger
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Panko-Crusted Mac-and-Cheese Buns
- 3/4 lb. ground beef (preferably an 80/20 blend)
- 1/8 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon (cooked)
- Panko-crusted mac-and-cheese buns (recipe follows)
- 2 (8 oz.) boxes elbow macaroni and cheese mix
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs (beaten with 2 tbsp. milk)
- 4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- canola oil or peanut oil for frying
- Panko-Crusted Mac-and-Cheese Buns Instructions:
Make macaroni and cheese mixes according to directions. Place the mac-and-cheese in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to cool completely and thicken.
- Using your hands, form 2 divided cups of the mac-and-cheese into two 4.5-inch wide disks for the bottom buns. To create the top buns, use 3–4 cups of mac-and-cheese to create two 4.5-inch wide domes. Wrap each bun half tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15–20 minutes to harden but not completely freeze.
- As the grill comes to temperature, place the flour and salt in a shallow bowl and stir to combine. Place beaten eggs in a second bowl and the panko in a third. Working one at a time, dredge each bun half in flour, then the egg mixture, then panko.
- In a medium saucepan, add approximately 4 inches and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the mac-and-cheese “buns” one at a time and fry for approximately 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bun from the oil and set on paper towels to drain.
Fire up a full chimney of Kingsford® Charcoal with Mesquite, or light a pile of about 100 briquets. Configure the coals for a two-zone fire, placing the briquets on one half of the charcoal grate to create a hot zone for grilling and a cool zone for moving the burgers during flare-ups. Adjust the bottom grill vents for medium-high heat cooking, approximately 400–425°F.
- Form ground beef into 4 flat patties. Place 1/2 of the grated cheese in the center of each of two patties. Top with the remaining two patties and pinch the edges closed to create cheese stuffed burgers.
- Place the burgers on the grill and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F.
- To assemble the burgers, place the cheese stuffed patties on the bottom mac-and-cheese buns. Add 2 slices of bacon and the top bun to each burger then serve immediately.