Pimiento Cheese Burgers

I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone a bit today. A few years ago, I had never even heard of pimiento cheese. I’m pretty sure it’s hugely popular in the south; here in Rhode Island, though, it hasn’t caught on (at least as far as I’m aware). I can’t remember where I was first introduced to pimiento cheese, but it was definitely through the food blogging world. Even then, as it began to pop up on more and more sites, I didn’t actually know what it was – just that people were hugely obsessed with it.

I think it was Josie who finally put it in terms I could understand. If you’re new to this too, pimiento cheese is just cheddar cheese mixed with pimientos (which are sweet red peppers), plus mayonnaise to hold everything together and whatever seasonings you want to add.

Pimiento Cheese Burgers

Ok, so now that we’re all on the same page, I’m going to recommend you run out, grab the ingredients, and give pimiento cheese a try :) If you’re not big on mayo, you can replace some of it with nonfat Greek yogurt. I do like mayo, but to keep things a little lighter, I still make this substitution every time a recipe calls for mayo.

With Labor Day weekend on the horizon, you might as well grab some ground beef while you’re out too. Invite your friends and family over for one last summer barbecue, throw some burgers on the grill, and then replace whatever cheese you’d typically melt on top with pimiento cheese! It’s such a fun way to break out of your burger rut, and completely delicious too. When I made them, I served our burgers on these jalapeno cheddar rolls because you can never have too much cheese, right?

Pimiento Cheese Burgers
heavily adapted from Martha Stewart

Pimiento Cheese
2 oz diced pimientos, drained
1 cup (about 4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used light)
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Burgers
1 lb ground beef (I used 85% lean)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
4 burger buns
tomato, lettuce, and red onion (optional garnish)

To make the pimiento cheese: In a medium bowl, stir together the pimientos, cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while you prep the burgers. The cheese can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

To make the burgers: Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to a medium bowl. Use your hands to gently mix until everything is combined (don’t overwork the meat). Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and shape each into a patty about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Make a deep depression in the center of each burger with your thumb (this will help them keep their shape as they cook).

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Dip a paper towel in canola or vegetable oil and using tongs to hold the paper towels, oil the grates of the grill. When the grill is hot, add the burgers (the side with the impression should be face-up) and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked to your desired doneness. In the last minute or two of cooking, top each burger with about 2-3 tablespoons of the pimiento cheese and cover the grill to allow the cheese to melt slightly. You can also toast the buns at this time, if desired. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings.