Oh my drool—have you been to Stella’s?
Their stuffed burgers are hands down the best in Grand Rapids. GQ Magazine just so happens to agree.
Beyond the food, Stella’s—off Commerce Ave in the Arena district in downtown Grand Rapids—is a must-check-out restaurant. It has a hardcore rock vibe with colorful murals outside and a black and chain link fence interior. Inside has a fun, vintage feel with old school cartoons playing on the TVs and pinball machines lining the restaurant walls.
But back to the burgers! All their stuffed creations are awesome (shout out to The Buffalo and Government Cheese Stuffed Burger) but their Stella Blue Stuffed Burger is pretty close to what dreams are made of.
They take big ol’ hunks of creamy blue cheese and unapologetically go meat-on-meat with bacon crumbles, all rolled up in a delightful 100% Black Angus beef patty. Come to mama!
The beauty in this burger is its simplicity. Duh, stuffing cheese into the meat instead of melting it on top as an afterthought—why didn’t I think of that? But, for however easy it sounds, there’s an art to making your at-home stuffed creation taste Stella’s worthy.
First—Angus beef. It’s a little pricier, but you’re making burgers not hamburger helper dangnabbit! Second—chill it, don’t freeze it. A non-frozen burger has a light and moist texture to it in a way that frozen patties just can’t live up to. Third—know your grill. You can turn the most delightful burger into an overdone hockey puck if you don’t watch it. I ask my in-house grill master spray both sides of the raw patties with a little cooking spray to help them slide off the grill with ease.
When it comes to toppings, I like a super thinly sliced red onion, a crunchy piece of lettuce and something to dip it all in (see the chipotle mayo recipe below!). Oh, and I like my buns toasted. Is that over sharing?
I must say, for this not being the Stella’s burger, it comes pretty dang close. If you can get to Stella’s, you must; but if their downtown location is a little far from home (or if you just want to chow down in the comfort of your own sweatpants) here’s how to fake their famous burger.
1 lb Angus ground beef
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
6 slices of bacon
5-6 whole wheat hamburger buns
Optional chipotle mayo spread
¼ cup mayo
1 tablespoon sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Let cooked strips cool on a paper towel, then cut or crumble the bacon into bits.
2. Combine the ground beef, blue cheese and bacon bits in a bowl. Go easy on your meat, yo. This is no time for a deep tissue massage.
3. Form into patties. Make a thumb-sized indent in the middle of each to help combat plumping while cooking.
4. Grill to desired firmness.
The burger alone is drool worthy, but if you’re feeling extra saucy, I highly recommend a little chipotle mayo spread. Mix the mayo and chipotle adobo sauce together and spread generously on your burger buns.
–Dana Blinder, Contributing Writer