A Burger Blowout

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By Paula Deen

Burgers, like music and movies, can be a very personable thing.  From how the patty and bun is prepared to what’s put on top, people like it “their way.”  For as long as I can remember, my way has been to take ice-cold butter, cut it into small pieces and mix it right into the hamburger meat.  It makes the juiciest, most flavorful burger in the whole world.  I don’t do those often, because, well, I don’t have to tell you why, but when I’m really wantin’ to blow somebody away with a burger, it’s gonna be a butter burger.

All the Fixin’s
There are about a million different ways to build a burger.  I’ve topped mine with everything from fried bacon to fried eggs. But these days, the quintessential “Paula” burger is pretty simple.  I love a really traditional burger with lots of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayonnaise and a little mustard.  The only thing I can’t stand on my burger is ketchup, no matter how un-American that may sound.

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The “Michael” burger can be summed up in one word: hot.  That man loves a burger with some kick, which is why he always dresses ‘em with and handful of jalapenos.  Bobby and Jamie have each experimented with their own delicious burger variations, toppin’ them with a heap of portabella mushrooms or mashed avocado.

Consequently, a dyed-in-the-wool burger blowout means having something for every guest’s tastes, whether it’s fried okra or fresh salsa.  So many offerings also require a wide-open space, so we decided to throw the dinner party on my back patio overlooking the Wilmington River—the perfect view for any summer celebration.

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Be My Guest
Michael and I took the opportunity to invite two of my treasured employees who rarely get a moment’s rest, let alone a home-cooked meal.  And, of course, it’s never a party without Aunt Peggy.  The minute she hears a burger is in her future, she moves faster than a cat on fire.  Don’t be fooled by her soft voice and small frame—Aunt Peggy has herself a real appetite and, honey, she can eat.

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Rance Jackson is the general manager at The Lady & Sons and the most wonderful young man.  He walked into our restaurant a couple of months before we opened and introduced himself to Jamie and Bobby.  I was busy talkin’ to someone else, but something about Rance caught my eye, even from across the room.  After he left, I asked the boys, “What did that young man want?”  They said he was a cook in the Army and that he wanted to apply for a job.  I said, “Run catch him.  Do not let him get away.”

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In a moment’s glance, I saw the most wonderful thing in him—I saw the kind of person Rance was and I wanted that young man on our team.  He’s good, honest, trustworthy and dedicated, and I’m blessed to work with him.  I was also blessed to have him man the grill for our dinner party.  I tried to tell him to sit back and enjoy himself, but once a cook, always a cook.

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Our other guest, Noelle Hoppe, is the general manager at the Paula Deen Retail Store.  She came to us not too long ago from Apple.  Noelle didn’t have much experience in a business like ours, but I saw in her those same qualities that I saw so many years ago in Rance.  Noelle has not disappointed; she’s really hung in there with the store.  She’s not a quitter, even when things get tough—something I know a little about.  And now she’s coming into her own with the store, fittin’ in perfectly with the Deen Team.

Stacking the Deck
Seeing Noelle build her burger only reaffirmed that she’s on the right team.  No one held back.  We stacked ‘em about as tall as the river is wide, experimenting with new flavors and combinations, dreamin’ up silly names that just might find themselves on a menu one day (Michael’s Mouth-burner or Peggy’s Pickled Patty, anyone?). 

At the very least, they’ll be the stars of what’s sure to become a seasonal celebration.

Sink your teeth into some of Paula’s other signature burgers!

Read More From Cooking Basics.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

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Reader Comments:

54321

My family and I love you Paula!!! Keep your head up, and know that you have support from people of all races, creeds, colors, and walks of life!!! My son is 25 and refers to you as Grandma Paula!!! Many Blessings

By Tequila Dickerson on September 16, 2013

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I would just like to say, that I have loved Miss Paula Deen for many years.She has been my absolute favorite and that will NEVER change. I will always be on your side no matter what. I love you very much. God bless you..

By Melissa Walls on September 15, 2013

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I love to watch you cook you are the best love you

By michelle ellis on August 26, 2013

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I couldn't agree with you more Paula... I also hate ketchup on my burgers (or hotdogs). I love tomatoes though not the sauce. You and I must be the only one's that think that way!

By Joe Summer on August 25, 2013

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Hi Paula, I just want to say that I love you and your entire family. I love making all of your recipes. May God bless you all!

By Priscilla on August 24, 2013

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I realize this subject is not what I'm commenting on, BUT I JUST HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE REALLY MISSED. I am so happy the damaging part of that lawsuit was thrown out. Have you any Ideal how much you and your children are really LOVED? I look forward to the time when I can enjoy a portion of my day looking at one of your cooking shows. You are the ONLY ONE WHO SEEMS TO COOK WITH LOVE. No Kidding!!!!

By EloiseM on August 16, 2013

54321

I love watching you and your family and friends and know God will never let you be separated from good and will always support you. Love, Mary Nummelin

By Anonymous on August 14, 2013

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My precious Miss Paula: Continue to be strong. I received the lovely picture (thank you!) and it will sit along side the other one. I am as pecan tan as they come. Even though I am only partially African-American, I still believe in justice. How you have been treated is not justified and those who hurt you should be ashamed. Please know that God knows your heart. He knows that you are a good person and have helped many. As such, He will ensure that you will bounce back better than ever. My household loves Paula Deen. Bobby and Jamie are wonderful....I watch every show of theirs. I know their hearts hurt, too, but not to worry, dear heart....all will be well. God bless you and yours now and always. Don't ever change. Love, Marian

By Marian Benton-Baker on August 13, 2013

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Paula: Congrats on the legal victory! Why are you not accepting Fox news offer to share your side of the story? We all know you are innocent, why won't you share your story with the rest of America, absent from the "lame stream" media? God Bless, Kurt and Jody STL

By Kurt Romkey on August 13, 2013

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thank you for your show and your charm you were wronged by almost all, except the people who have common sense. my wife introduced me to your show and i couldn't stop watching stay true to yourself and you will prevail in your time of sorrow.

By mike on August 13, 2013

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Dear Paula, I don't know how old you are but I just turned 70 and I know that makes all the difference. I have always loved the Lord and my little cousin's chocolate friend who I got to meet when we visited relatives in the big city of Omaha. I also remember the song and have never written a fan letter in my life. You are and will be fine! Blessings, Bonnie

By Anonymous on August 13, 2013

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Congratulations on your recent court VICTORY!!! At least now the 'snobbery' can stop and everyone around the world will know what your fans know, you are the BEST of the BEST. Keep your head up lady, you are a diamond among coal dust.

By Dianna on August 13, 2013

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Love the tasty recipes. Thanks for the chance to say I think your great and don't listen to those naysayers. There are millions like me youll never hear from that feel the same.

By Patrick Coty on August 13, 2013

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All I can say is, KEEP BEING WHO AND YOUR FAMILY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love this web site, thank you. Marlene Jakoubek

By Marlene Jakoubek on August 12, 2013

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Dear Paula, you are the most lovable, authentic, genuine, crazy woman I have ever seen. You may have made a mistake a long time ago, but I have seen you on your various shows interacting with the audience, and I have never seen any measure of racism in you. Keep that smile on your face and keep being YOU! I love you. Sharon Price Bellbrook. Oh.

By Sharon Price on August 11, 2013

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You will always be my favorite on or off tv. Love you and God bless you and your entire team. Linda Bivens

By Linda Bivens on August 11, 2013

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I am not really a burger person but from time to time I crave for it and I always want to make my own because I hate (may be a strong word) those frozen patties that my husband buys. I am excited to try that "cold butter cut up secret". Thank you Paula. I look forward to your e-newsletter all the time. - ever hopeful cook.

By Minerva Meeker on August 11, 2013

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So sorry for all u have been through. I'm so glad yur family and husband stand behind u. We all have done and said things we r sorry for. What ever hapoened to forgiveness? What made me proud of u was u told the truth! God Bless u during these tryn times!. My daughter recently got me yur mag. which I love. I hope it continues to come. I predict u will b bigger than ever!!

By Rebecca Beasley on August 10, 2013

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I love your e-mails. Another great idea for dinner tonight especially since both my boys and grandson will b visiting! Will b down your way the first of October and want to visit the restaurant. Have all your books and the boys. Thanks for all your e-mails! Lov them, love them, love them. !!!!

By Debbie Smith on August 10, 2013

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thank you for keeping strong with all the trash mouthing you have had to hear for making a mistake yrs ago. i remember my brother talling me "be careful about throwing stones at others if you live in a glass house" which mimics what you said. we are all with mistakes in our past. keep up the good work. thanks for the diabetic recipes as i hav ediabetes too. Dede

By dede grier on August 10, 2013

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm