Danny Ocean (George Clooney) may be the “mastermind” behind the big Vegas casino heist, but Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) is the logistical genius who keeps the whole crew working in sync, planning the heist and handling the day to day operations. It’s been said that the reason why Rusty seems to be constantly eating throughout Ocean’s Eleven–everything from nachos to popcorn to ice cream to burgers– is because he never stops working, so he never takes the time to actually sit down and enjoy a meal.
As the consummate con man, on par with his buddy Danny, Rusty is a man in perpetual motion. When Saul (Carl Reiner) informs Rusty that’s he’s retired from the “game,” Rusty, nonplussed, replies “Guys like us don’t change, Saul. We either stay sharp or we get sloppy, we don’t change.” And Rusty has every intention of not only staying sharp, but making sure that an up and coming confidence man like Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) is properly schooled in the art of the con.
All this running around can really work up an appetite. So, in honor of the resourceful Rusty Ryan, I’ve come up with a big classy All-American burger that would perhaps make even Rusty take a moment to savor. For the Rusty’s BBLT Burger, I started with an eight ounce patty of ground bison meat, seasoned generously with salt and pepper, then cooked it in a well-oiled, searing hot cast iron skillet to a medium rare, then topped it with a rich caramelized onion and bacon “jam.” I then slathered a toasted Kaiser roll on both sides with a thick, creamy spread made of crumbled aged blue cheese, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt and a touch of garlic. Crisp leaves of romaine and slices of juicy vine-ripened tomato complete the burger. I’d like to think that I’ve been as equally “crafty” with this dish because given my time constraints I came up with this burger by simply looking at what ingredients I had on hand and tried to limit the number of the additional ingredients I needed to purchase, which in this case were the Kaiser roll and tomato. Now, that’s thinking on my feet!
Rusty’s BBLT Burger
8 oz. Ground Bison Meat, shaped into a 1/2″ thick patty
Salt & Peppper
1 Small Red Onion, chopped
1 Slice Thick-Cut Applewood-Smoked Bacon, diced
1/2 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce
1 Small Sprig Fresh Thyme
1 oz. Aged Blue Cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt
1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Small Vipe-Ripened Tomato, sliced
3 Romaine Leaves, trimmed
1 Kaiser Roll, split and toasted
To make the caramelized onion and bacon “jam,” brown the bacon to render out some of the fat, then add the chopped onion and thyme leave. Saute on medium low heat for about 5 mins., then add the sugar, balsamic, and worchestershire. Continue cooking until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Season with a pinch of black pepper.
To make the blue cheese spread, mix together the crumbled blue cheese, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and garlic powder, along with a pinch of black pepper in a bowl.
To assemble the burger, slather a generous amount of the blue cheese spread on both sides of the toasted roll. Place the cooked burger patty on the bottom half, then top with the “jam,” followed by the lettuce leaves, slice tomato and top half of the roll.