Chef Mark Celebrates The Fourth!

Central Illinois Newsday

Chef Mark Shoopman’s celebrates the holiday weekend with his Great American Independence Day Cheeseburger… oh, baby you’ll see fireworks! Here’s how you can make it at home:

The Great American Independence Day Cheeseburger

We celebrate this great land of freedom with a spectacular salute the American Burger”

By Certified Executive Chef Mark Shoopman of Lutheran Hillside Village.


4 each Toasted, Burger buns, use your favorite!

12 ounces Ground chuck

12 ounces Pork sausage

6 strips Smoked bacon, cooked

¾ cup Blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 each Fried Mac and cheese patties, recipe follows

½ cup Blue cheese crumbles

As desired Salt

As desired Ground black pepper

4 each Fresh garlic cloves, smashed, divided

½ cup Barbecue sauce, pick your favorite

1 tablespoon Hot sauce

2 cups Vegetable oil for frying, use more if needed

8 each Dill pickle slices

4 slices American cheese, good quality

As desired Crisp, CHILLED iceberg lettuce

As Desired Garlic Mayonnaise, recipe follows

Mac and Cheese Patties…


1 package Macaroni and cheese, prepared by package directions and chilled

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs, I like the Italian seasoned kind

½ cup Flour

2 each Shell eggs

Pick your favorite Mac and cheese and prepare according to the directions. If you wish, you can make it from scratch or buy it prepared. After preparing spread out on to a pan lined with wax paper so the mac and cheese is about, I inch thick. Place in the fridge and cool for 2-3 hours or until firm. When firm and chilled remove from the fridge and use a cookie cutter or sharp knife to cut circles the size of the burger bun. Place on a tray lined with wax paper and put them in the freezer for 1 hour to hold their shape.

Next, heat the oil in a skillet until it reaches a temperature of 350-degree F. Gently dip the mac and cheese patties in the egg and then into the panko-flour mixture pressing them in it lightly to coat thoroughly. Working in batches, fry the patties in oil until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm for service.

Burger Preparation and presentation…

First cook the bacon strips and set aside.

Next mix the barbecue and hot sauce together.

Next, mix the mayonnaise with the ½ of the smashed garlic, pinch of salt and pepper., chill.

In a large size bowl add the ground chuck, pork sausage, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, Blue cheese, and remaining garlic. GENTLY fold the ingredients together being careful not to over mix as it will make the burgers tough. Divide into four individual balls and form into 4 patties. Before cooking put a little dimple in the center of each patty with your finger as this will keep the burgers from swelling in the center while cooking. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Toast the buns, if desired, with butter until lightly browned and set aside.

Heat a grill to high heat and place on the hot grill. Grill over the high heat 2 minutes on each side and then reduce the heat to medium and cook until well done, flipping them when needed. Brush generously with the barbecue sauce. Alternatively, these may be cooked indoors in a skillet following the same procedure.

Starting with bottom of the bun, place one slice of American cheese followed by lettuce, tomato, pickles, burger, bacon strips, mac and cheese patty and then the top of the bun dressed with garlic mayonnaise. Salute the Great American Burger!

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