Cheese Stick Burger Dogs? Hang with me. Do you enjoy partying on the patio? Would you like to be the coolest patio daddy-o ever? Well gather the kids, grandkids, or both and have them help put together this very simple, easy recipe for Cheese Stick Burger Dogs. No, I haven’t succumbed to infantile regression just yet (movin’ that way tho) but the inspiration for this easy grilling recipe originated with my grandsons. While babysitting, I was introduced to the popular snack cheese in the form of sticks. I was familiar with sliced cheese, chunk cheese, shredded cheese but this was a newfangled form of childhood enjoyment I had to learn about. Those long slivers of dairy goodness were/are the favorite snack of my youngest (he’s almost 3) grandson, Knox, and I confess I may have fed him some for breakfast, lunch, and again for an afternoon snack. I began wondering how I could incorporate that snack into something I could grill. Here is what is needed:
Cheese Stick Burger Dog Ingredients:
Ground Beef (I used a 90/10 variety but suggest nothing lower that 80/20)
Cheese Sticks (get a bunch, they’re multi-purpose)
Your favorite seasoning (I used salt and pepper but a great rub would work just fine also)
Hot dog or sausage buns (I used buns that were slit on top)
Condiments and garnish
No specific amounts just gear it for the crowd you’re grilling for. I suggest 1/3 lb. of ground meat per dog.
Roll the ground beef into a baseball size and place in on a square of waxed paper:
Top with another square:
Flatten the ball into a large patty:
Peel back the paper and place a cheese stick on the patty:
Select the appropriate variety of cheese stick. Be sure to have a good selection so each kid, or grownup kid, can choose their favorite and become part of the grilling process.
Carefully grab the waxed paper and pull back over the cheese stick as shown.
Pat the ground beef dog thoroughly to leave no cracks or crevices. I’ll show you why in a bit:
Next season the cheese stick burger dog.
Notice the dog is a bit longer. Scott, who assisted on this, suggested the burger might shrink on the grill. In retrospect, the leaner the burger mix the less shrinkage you’ll have. Nobody wants their dog to shrink a lot when it meets the heat.
Tip: After seasoning, roll the burger dog a few more times to pick up excess spices from the board.
I made a second dog for this cook but made the ball closer to actual baseball size. The first one seemed a bit large. Heck, sorta’ looks like a ball and bat here:
We light the Rockwood Charcoal all natural lump charcoal (the only charcoal we use) and set up the grill for two-zone or indirect cooking which means coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other. Place the burger dog on the grill grate at the edge of the fire:
Notice the placement adjacent to the glowing Rockwood Charcoal. I guess I’d call this method semi-indirect grill smoking. This would a good time to add a bit of smoking wood to the fire. I used a small chunk of apple for this short cook. If you’ve never smoked ground beef before I suggest you give it a try. We’ve smoked meatloaf many times and the flavor is something hard to achieve in an oven. The porous nature of the ground beef really soaks in the smoke flavor.
Remember I mentioned packing the burger tightly? Here’s why, part of one cheese stick ended up in the bottom of the grill:
Almost time to serve, approximately 30 minutes and my MK4 Thermapen reads 156 degrees with a target temp of 160.
The grill smoked cheese stick burger dogs are pulled and dropped into split top Hawaiian buns:
Add the usual condiments and they’re ready to go:
How many ways could you serve this preparation? The combinations are endless. First thing in my mind would be adding caramelized grilled onions.
Notice the mozzarella cheese stick burger dog. The cheese, with high moisture content, didn’t melt the same as other varieties.
Now look at the cheddar cheese version. It’s going into that melty, gooey mode that most of us really enjoy on our burger, er, dog. Hey! Who puts ketchup on a dog anyway??
What are some takeaways/suggestions from this effort?
- The semi-indirect grill smoking method provides even cooking, eliminates the numerous flare ups that occur over direct heat, permits added flavor with wood smoke, and many would say is a healthier way to cook versus direct fire.
- It utilizes those “extra” hot dog buns in your bread keeper-you know, because the number of dogs/brats in a package never matches the number of buns in a package.
- Next time I might get a little crazy with the meat before I form it into patties and wrap it around the cheese like adding extra seasoning, sauces or rubs.
- Try several different varieties of cheese sticks, during my last trip to the supermarket I recall counting about 14-15 different cheese stick packages, pepper cheese might be high on a Grillin Fool’s list.
- Explore different seasonings both dry and liquid to mix with the ground meat prior to forming the burger dogs. Substitute ground pork sausage or combine sausage with the burger. Introduce chopped fresh herbs to the meat mix, yeah, I’m going healthy here.
- Above all don’t forget to involve the kids, they’ll remember it forever, and who knows? You may be inspiring a young Grillin Fool.
- Forgot to mention, my next Cheese Stick Burger Dog will be…wrapped in BACON!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
- Ground Beef (I used a 90/10 variety but suggest nothing lower that 80/20)
- Cheese Sticks (get a bunch, they’re multi-purpose)
- Your favorite seasoning (I used salt and pepper but a great rub would work just fine also)
- Hot dog or sausage buns (I used buns that were slit on top)
- Condiments and garnish
- Flatten out the ground beef into patties slightly larger than the length of the cheese stick
- Wrap the patty around the cheese stick, making sure to beat the meat enough to ensure no cracks or crevices that will allow cheese to leak out later
- Season liberally on the outside with salt and pepper (optional, season the meat before turning it into patties)
- Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with hot coals on one side and nothing on the other
- Place smoke wood on the hot coals and put the cheese stick burger dogs just to the edge of the coals but not over the coals
- Cook until they reach 160 degrees flipping once
- You could also throw them over the hot coals for a minute or two at the end to get some nice char
- Remove from the grill, place in hot dog buns along with your favorite garnishes and condiments and enjoy