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As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of leftover makeovers. And protein – clearly. You might even have an inkling of my admiration for Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) and her recipes. But what you likely do not know is how all of this came together to produce the Protein Lovers Burger, a.k.a. one of the best burgers to ever come out of my kitchen.
Allow me to explain.
So, since I’m something of a fan of Miss Drummond’s, I have a few of her cookbooks. And I use them all. the. time. Some of her recipes grace our table more than others. One such recipe is her Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork because, well… I LOVE Dr Pepper and the resulting pork is delish!
Anyway, this recipe usually yields leftovers, which is great because it makes lunch time easy the next day. But on occasion, there are just too many leftovers to consume in one or two lunches.
Enter my love for a good leftover makeover… and protein.
I happened to have made Dr Pepper Pulled pork for supper one evening during my research/quest to cook the perfect burger on our gas grill just to break up the monotony of burgers every night for couple of weeks straight. But one night is enough. And besides, I had what I thought was a stroke of genius…
Why not put the leftover pulled pork on a cheeseburger? And, if we’re going to have the pulled pork on the cheeseburger, why not add a few slices of bacon?!
When I brought this idea up to the fam and the company I happened to be feeding at the time of inception of the Protein Lovers Burger, they took it one step further, asking me to top it off with a cooked-to-perfection, runny-yolked, egg over-easy. What?! But, yes!
I’m telling you, the egg – it sends this burger right over the top! And in addition to it being super delicious, this burger is egg-ceptionally nutritious, providing nearly all (depending on age, gender, activity level, etc.) of your daily recommended value for protein. All things considered, this burger comes in at a whopping 54 grams of protein, give or take a gram or two. Not even kidding.
So, there you have it. The story of how my love for leftover makeovers, Ree Drummond, and protein all came together to produce the Protein Lovers Burger. Which you should totally try. And if you try it, let me know how you like it!
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here is the short list:
- Always, wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Never thaw meat on the counter, thaw in the refrigerator, microwave or cool water bath.
- Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
- Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 140 degrees.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups leftover Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork
- 1 pound ground beef*
- Sliced Provolone cheese
- 3 eggs, cooked as desired**
- 9 bacon slices, baked or fried to desired crispiness
- Preheat the grill with medium-high heat for 10 minutes.***
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the leftover Dr Pepper Pulled Pork. Give it a quick stir so that the pork is evenly dispersed in the bottom of the pan. Stirring occasionally, cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the pork is heated through and some of the edges have started to become crispy.
- Divide ground beef mixture into 3 equal parts and shape into patties. Patties should be roughly 3/4 inch thick. Dent your patties in the center to reduce shrinkage on the grill.
- Place patties onto hot grill, cook for 3 minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the burgers reach a safe and savory internal temperature of 160 degrees. If the burgers have not reached that safe and savory internal temperature, move them to indirect heat and continue to cook, flipping every couple of minutes until they hit that 160 mark.
- Once the burgers have hit that target temp, remove them from the grill. Immediately place them on the bottom buns and top each burger with a slice of Provolone, a fair amount of the pulled pork, one egg, three slices of bacon, and top bun. Enjoy!
- *I prefer to use no leaner than 85/15 ground beef for my burgers.
- **We prefer our eggs over-easy with a runny yolk. But you could totally do sunny-side-up, hard or soft boiled and sliced, or even scrambled.
- ***Cooking times and temps are based on a gas grill.
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