RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Midwest Southside Chicago Blue Collar Burger



Barbecue Sauce

¼ cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of butter

Grilled Onions

1 tablespoon of butter
1 large yellow onion sliced
1 beef bullion cube
2 tablespoons of Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc


2 pounds of ground chuck
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
6 ounces of diced Wisconsin string cheese
¼ cup of tomato juice
½ cup of unseasoned bread crumbs

Additional Items

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill
6 slices of a fresh Beefsteak tomato, ¼ inch thick
6 slices of Chedarella (Cheddar/Mozzarella) cheese
6 Soft Fresh Butter Buns
6 lettuce leaves
6 tablespoons of Cracovia Polish Sauerkraut


Prepare the grill for medium-high heat.

For the barbecue sauce, combine the ketchup, lemon juice, brown sugar, white wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and butter in a small grilling bowl. Place on indirect heat, and let warm and reduce, until ready to serve.

The grilled onions are made by combining the butter, onion slices, bullion cube, and Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc in the middle of a sheet of tin foil. Fold up the sides of the tin foil, and gently seal the top, so no steam escapes. Place on indirect heat for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until the onions become caramelized. Keep warm after opening.

To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, beaten egg, minced garlic, salt, pepper, string cheese, tomato juice, and bread crumbs in a large bowl. Once mixed, divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions, and form the patties. Cover and set aside until ready to grill.

Once the grill is ready, brush the grate with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on direct heat to sear in the juices, and create grill marks on the patties. Grill the patties for about 4 minutes on each side, until noticeable juices run clear. Move the patties to an area on the grill with indirect heat, so patties are not over cooked. Place the 6 slices of tomato on the direct heat portion of the grill for about one minute on each side. Move the tomato slices to indirect heat. Lastly, place the cheese slices on the patties, and the buns open side down near direct heat. Close the lid to let the cheese melt and buns brown for one minute.

To assemble the burgers, remove the buns from the grill and place the bottoms on a serving platter. First place a lettuce leaf on each bun bottom. Second, put a heaping tablespoon of sauerkraut on the lettuce. Next, nestle the burgers on top of the sauerkraut. Drizzle a tablespoon of barbecue sauce on top of the burger. Place a tablespoon of the grilled onions on top of the barbecue sauce, and top with a grilled tomato slice. Last, add the bun tops, and serve.


Midwest Southside Chicago Blue Collar Burger

Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, I was surrounded by a multitude of steel fabricating plants, supporting industries, railroads, and dozens of local "family run" taverns. The majority of the workers were mostly hard working immigrants, from European countries, that settled here with their families. Business owners loved these hard working people. To compete for the blue collar lunch business, and survive, many taverns with grills, started serving up a hearty "hungry man’s" burger, and a cold beer. A majority of the local family run taverns predominantly sold just beer and whiskey.

During their run for Super Bowl XX, Mike Ditka, head coach of the Chicago Bears, likened his player’s work ethics to that of "The Grabowski’s", those hard working blue collar immigrants from the South Side. This is where I got my inspiration for this burger. During the summer months I like to use as many fresh ingredients as possible. I am very happy to be able to share this famous taste from the Midwest!