Before you read this post, I have to issue a few disclaimers for you to consider.

If you:
1. are grossed out by photographs of raw ground beef
2. have any problem with people who eat beef
3. don’t care to learn a new recipe

…please don’t read any further. It’ll be a waste of your time. Also,

I can not be held responsible in any way if:
1. by reading this post, your cholesterol level increases by more than fifty points
2. by reading this post, you gain about ten pounds
3. you are feeling a little jealous of my family’s mad cooking skills.

Are we ready now? Good. If you’re still with me, read on!

After the parade, we had a pretty relaxing day. We didn’t strive to do too much, especially because we were still a little tired from our big activity on Sunday, whose post has now been pushed out til tomorrow. (I have housework to do today, people!)

For dinner, we made one of our favorite things. We call it “Big Hamburger”, but it’s more self-explanatory if you think of it as a “Stuffed Cheeseburger”. This recipe came to our family via my sister: I can’t remember exactly where she got it. We went from following the recipe exactly to doing our own thang, and I’m about to pass the “method” on to you. Please note that my photos didn’t turn out as fabulous as I was hoping, especially the last couple where you see the finished product…but I guess if this all sounds good to you, you can make it yourself and enjoy looking at it in all its glory in your own home.

Before I begin, one more disclaimer: I am completely aware that this dish is a heart-stopping, artery-clogging, fat-inducing mess, which is why we enjoy it RARELY, as in maybe once or twice per year…But it’s also Paradise.

Okay, without further stall tactics, gather up the following (remember, the measurements are up to you…after all, I don’t know how many folks you’re serving!):

For the outside:
ground beef
various spices that you enjoy in ground beef
tostitos or doritos, in your choice of flavor, crushed

For the inside:
Anything you would put on top of a burger (not lettuce, though)
We use onion, tomato, pickle, and cheese.

Here we go!
Get a bowl (or two if you have a large amount of ground beef) and dump everything from the top list of ingredients in it. For about 2 pounds of ground beef, I’ll use one or two eggs, about 1/3 cup of mustard and 1/3 cup of catsup, and cilantro and spices however I’m feeling that day. (How’s that for exact?)

Now, after taking off your rings (and washing your hands, which I hope you would have already thought of!), mix it all up with your hands, but not for too long. You only want to mix it up until it’s combined; otherwise it starts to get goopy.

Next, you want to divide the mixture in half. Grab the Heavy Duty aluminum foil and tear off two generous sheets. Put them on the counter. Take one half of the ground beef mixture and make a huge patty with a little wall around the edges on one piece of foil. You should have a grill basket already, and your goal is to make the big patty the right size so it will fit in the basket.

Here is my lovely Patty #1. You may have a hard time believing this, but it’s true: I did not even have the grill basket out in the kitchen when I made this, but because I have mad skills in patty shaping…

…it turned out to be exactly the right size! Woo hoo!

After admiring your handiwork for a moment, set the grill basket aside. Now it’s time to add the inside stuff. First we added onions…

…then tomato…

…then pickle…

…then cheese!

Here’s the precarious part. You have to make a matching huge patty, and then carefully flip it from the foil to the top of the patty you have just decorated with fillings:

Pinch the edges together really, really well. If you don’t, everything will start to seep out during the grilling process.

Spray your grill basket heavily with cooking spray, and then carefully get the big burger into the basket. I put the deep part of the basket on top of the burger and then slide the flat part of the basket (yes, it’s two pieces that attach for cooking!) under the burger and the foil. Flip the burger into the basket, take off the flat basket piece so you can remove the foil, and then close up the basket.

Grill it over a low flame. Trust me when I say “Low flame”. We have nearly set the back porch on fire a few times: this gets very, very greasy! Be careful!

You will be flipping the basket several times during the grilling process. When it looks done, give it a few more minutes. Trust me on that, too. But isn’t this pretty? (Can a burger be pretty?)

When you bring this monster back into the house, it helps to carry it in on top of a cookie sheet. To get it out of the basket and onto the cookie sheet for cutting, you will just do the opposite of what you did to get it in the basket in the first place: open up the basket and set the flat part to the side. Put the cookie sheet on top of the burger, flip it out (carefully: it’s hot! you may need a helper) onto the cookie sheet, and voila’!!

The finished product? Well, we used an ungodly amount of ground beef yesterday for some reason, and it was still a tiny bit pink inside for our tastes, so we cut our pieces and then put them in the microwave to finish the job. We put what we didn’t eat in the freezer, for one of those future days when we won’t feel like cooking! Yippee! By the way, here’s an important note: if you don’t have a grill basket and don’t want to get one, you can make individual stuffed burgers that are more normal in size and much easier to flip with a spatula…I’ve done it!

(It looks much better in person. Wanna come over?)