Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Hickory Smoked Blue Cheese Jerk Burger : The 2013 Burger Throw Down

Way up yonder, in the northern reaches of Minnesota, a series of Weber Smokey Joe grills quietly puffed in turn beneath the whispering pines. Men plying through their coolers, and spice stashes. Other men circling about, taking pictures. Patties of ground beef delicately formed, and laying at the ready. And a light humidity hung in the air. This was the scene of the 2013 Burger Throw-Down.  A gastronomic snippet of a men’s retreat. A humble tho seriously esteemed competition held in the hinter lands of Northern Minnesota, along the White Fish chain of lakes. It was there in these competitive pools, that my fellow blog host sought to ply his burger craft.  Each contestant was provided 2 pounds of ground beef, 4  hamburger buns, a Weber Smokey Joe, and what ever spice and accompaniments they wish to steal from their home pantries . There would be 8 judges, each sporting a most scrupulous eye, and two hours, give or take, in which to greatly impress them.


As the Canadian Jays and Black Capped Chickadees cavorted in the white pines, and the air smelled of damp earth from recent showers, the contestants hovered over their prep areas, one and all, prodding over patties of beef, and a litany of spice and cheese.  The game was on, and our fellow blog host recalls, in his own words, getting things underway, in this, the great burger throw down of 2013.

“The burger throw down was as fun as I thought it would be. I was the first one to show up knowing I would have much prep for my burgers. I had my premixed jerk rub tightly vacuumed sealed for freshness and a large can of pineapple rings. I also brought a zip lock bag of hickory chips that has been soaking since Thursday night, so almost 2 days. So, I started my coals first, as one should always do, and as they began to burn I started moving them around the bowl of the Smokey Joe. Placing them on one side of the bowl so I can do a little in-direct smoking once the burgers were fully cooked. When people saw what I was doing with the coal placement, I could hear comments like “wow, he’s got it down to a science, or this guy is serious”. I was just doing what I’m used too.”

The men henceforth got down, as men do in competitive burger making. Got down to the heady business of procuring something memorable, and pleasing to the palate. Something apt to move a judge’s tummy for the better, and put a mile on his face. The contestants were up for the challenge  Everything from pesto and jalapeno to feta and Munster cheese.  Our fellow patron admits to being slightly intimidated, standing alongside some of these Meat Maestros.  But he sticks with his game plan, and his secret weapon – 48 hour soaked hickory chips.

 “I then quickly began to prep my burgers. Now, I brought a lot of spice rub with me and I wasn’t sure how much I should use so I decided I would start mixing the rub into the meat until I could smell it. I used about half of what I brought, folding and pounding the meat until the smell joined the wet pine of the camp. I quickly shaped my patties and filled the middle with blue cheese. I sprinkled a little more rub on the cheese and laid the other patty on top of it. I finished by pinching the patties together and rubbing spice on both sides of it.  I think soaking the chips as long as I did helped put steam into the meat because I know my burgers were juicy. After they were fully cooked I moved them to indirect heat and placed the pineapple over the coals. I charred them up a little and then toasted the buns. I threw everything together and mine were the first for the judges to eat. I realized at that point I forgot two of my main ingredients, bacon, which  would have gone on top of the pineapple, and then some smokey bbq sauce to go on top of the bacon. I’m glad my burgers were juicy, because sometimes without sauce you get a dry burger.”


Were talking a burger here folks. One that would make even a heathen man pause to say grace. One-half pound of hickory smoked ground beef, filled with a pocket of gooey blue cheese, seasoned with the patron kick of good jerk rub, topped with a charred pine-apple ring  and of course, a toasted bun. Dang! You certainly are not going to eat a whole lot better under the whispering pines nor burger shack alike. And apparently the judges thought so too, as they gave our fellow patron 1st Place honors for his Smoked Blue Cheese Jerk Burger. Well done old chap.  Well done indeed.


Besides getting to sport the title of Defending Champion for a year, he also won himself a chef’s hat and an apron.  If we’re nice to him, and flatter him a little, maybe we can even get him to model it for us. I doubt it, but maybe.

48 responses

  1. mdprincing

    I just drooled on my desk…..I will have to try this, I am a big fan of what we call the bacon, balsamic and bleau burger and I have a liking of the juicy lucy cheese stuffed burger.

    I am in the process of getting my sh!t together and starting to build a back yard smoker that a man can be proud of

    May 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

  2. Very cool! I trust you will have pictures posted some where for those of us who are interested in such things!

    May 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

  3. Excellent. You certainly have a poetic way of expressing things and that’s a grand story too.

    May 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

  4. A burger “that would make even a heathen man pause to say grace,” is a burger done right! I have no doubt that 1st place honor is rightly deserved. Oh…and nice apron too! 🙂

    May 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    • Thanks Will. Yeah he did good. I’ve had his burgers on occasion, and they are as good as they look.

      May 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  5. Reblogged this on My Meals are on Wheels.

    May 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

  6. Congratulations! If the burger tasted half as good as it looked, first place was well deserved.

    May 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

  7. Pingback: National Burger Day | Try This Homemade Nom Nom: Bacon + Cheese Stuffed Burger – PSLoveCharli Online Magazine | Life, Style, & Culture

  8. Ah the Juicy Lucy done right … I’m as happy as a Skool Gurl! Blue Cheese, jerk and Pineapple … I GOTTA try this one lads, … well done, … again! 🙂

    May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    • Thank you kindly sir! And thanks also for the shout out on your blog. Nice!

      May 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  9. Absolutely MY pleasure Sir … only too happy to pay it forward for a very worthy Patron of the pit 🙂 Stay hungry lad !!

    May 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

  10. Melty blue cheese with juicy beef – what’s not to love?

    May 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

  11. laurie27wsmith

    I shouldn’t be reading about hamburgers before breakfast, *sigh* I’ll go and get my oats.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    • That was good for laugh! Sorry Laurie. Deal with it I guess.

      May 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      • laurie27wsmith

        I will! I’ll have two bowls. 🙂

        May 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm

  12. Hot damn. That sounds incredible.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm

  13. Well deserved first place win, that burger looks and sounds drool worthy. Congratualtions.

    May 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  14. Effing damn I want that burger. Love it!

    May 29, 2013 at 12:26 am

  15. I’ve got the burger part down, but the bun… I have yet to find the right vehicle here in the middle of the desert! Alas, maybe, make my own? Suggestions?

    May 29, 2013 at 1:21 am

  16. This all looks so good – I need some cheese-stuffed burgers in my life! Wondering about other good combos now… I did my own ode to local barbecue and meaty goodness in my home town if you want to have a look!

    May 29, 2013 at 5:04 am

    • Nice! Nice write-up. Enjoyed reading it. Thanks for swinging by!

      May 29, 2013 at 9:16 am

  17. Melted cheese inside the burger. Hmm. I gotta’ try that. Heck, I haven’t burned my lip since Monday. 🙂

    May 29, 2013 at 7:54 am

    • Don’t they do that down south? They call such antics the “Juicy Lucy” up here. We all have burnt lips too.

      May 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

  18. Love the flavor profile. Definitely need to give this a try this summer. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your buyer championship. 🙂

    May 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

    • burger. I hate spell check.autocorrect!

      May 29, 2013 at 11:13 am

      • Thanks Richard! Yes, many of us probably would be better off without the dubious aid of the spell check auto correct. Better off indeed. Yeah, give this burger a go this summer and let us know how you liked it!

        May 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

  19. Holy Moly! Blue cheese? Toasted buns? Pineapple? You guys are bringing tears to my eyes! Off to the grocer. Congrats on the big win. The competition didn’t have a chance.

    May 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

  20. p. s. You know I’ll be fixin’ this up with a venison/ wild pork mix, don’t ya?

    May 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

    • Well yeah, we would expect nothing less from the deer slayer’s wife!

      May 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      • Just got around to reading this one – the burger throwdown sounds like a HUGE amount of fun! And the blue cheese jerk burger – pictures and words can’t do it justice! Sounds like a winner. I’ll have to start sneaking some “special” ingredients on the home front – the fussy eater won’t know what hit him!

        June 3, 2013 at 4:36 am

      • Ah yes, always good to experiment on the fussy eaters. Don’t tell them what it is until after they’ve eaten it!

        June 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

  21. This blog makes me hungry. I must build a better grill.

    June 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    • Yes. Build it. And grill on!! Thanks for swinging by too!

      June 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

      • We’ve only got about two more months of summer here, so I’ll get crackin’.

        June 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

      • I’m actually planing on building an off-set smoker/grill.

        June 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

  22. I feel like this is burger nirvana. I thought I made the best blue cheese burgers ever, but I never thought of adding jerk spice to it! Now I feel like a total jerk (get it?) And those pictures (drool).

    June 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm

  23. Pingback: Red, White and Blue Cheese Burger Recipe | Nosh My Way

  24. Oh man. That burger shot looks DIVINE. Cheesy, tender, spiced with jerk seasoning… heaven (I just ate a bowl of Cheerios. So, so boring and disappointing).

    July 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm

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