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Guy FieriThe Guy Behind Carnival Cruise Lines’ Burger Joint

April 2012: With a cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Liberty coming up, I did a bit of pre-sailing “research” on the Food Network when they recently aired the show Guy's Big Bite starring culinary rock star Guy Fieri.

Guy is, of course, the guy behind Guy’s Burger Joint, one of the new features on board Carnival Liberty that was introduced last fall as part of the Fun Ship 2.0 Initiative. In the “Kids, Eat With Your Hands” episode, Fieri demonstrated step-by-step how he creates a Straight-Up with a Pig Patty Burger.

Now, you might be wondering if I’m going to wait to order one on Carnival Liberty or if I tried recreating the burger topped with a bacon patty and sauces myself at home. I do a few things well in the kitchen—brewing coffee and loading the dishwasher are my noteworthy skills—but my cooking prowess is limited to more basic dishes and I admit that Fieri’s complex burger creation is a bit of a stretch.

However, I made a batch of the Donkey Sauce that accompanies the Straight-Up with a Pig Patty Burger and served it with meatloaf topped with melted cheese. I know, I know… that’s not really much of an accomplishment, but Mel and I enjoyed the simple-to-prepare sauce that includes ingredients most of us have on hand, and we’re looking forward to sampling the real thing.

If you’re more at home in the kitchen and you’d like to give it a try, here’s the entire recipe, including both “secret” sauces, and detailed instructions.

Straight-Up with a Pig Patty Burger
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

Total Time: 2 hr 50 min.
Prep: 30 min.
Cook: 2 hr 20 min.
Yield:4 servings


1 head garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces thinly sliced applewood smoked bacon
32 ounces ground beef (80/20 blend)
2 ounces Mornay Sauce, recipe follows, optional
8 slices yellow American cheese or Cheddar
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 2 tablespoons water
4 soft brioche hamburger buns, cut in half
"Donkey" Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
1 kosher dill pickle, finely sliced
1/2 Vidalia onion, very finely sliced
1 heirloom tomato, finely sliced
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, finely sliced


Special equipment: brick covered with aluminum foil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut off the top third of the garlic head to expose the cloves. Place onto a piece of foil. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the garlic with the foil and place into the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch. Remove the garlic cloves from their husks. Reserve until ready to use.

Mince 1 teaspoon of the roasted garlic and melt with the butter in a small saucepan. Season with salt. Gently warm until the garlic becomes fragrant. Set aside in the fridge to slightly firm up again.

Begin by preparing the bacon for the pig patties. Set a large pot of cold water over high heat and add the bacon. Bring to a medium boil and cook until the bacon is very tender and almost falling apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain and set aside to cool.

Set a flat cast-iron griddle pan over high heat. Divide the bacon into 4 even portions, form each portion into a patty and place on the grill. Press down with the foil-covered brick to squash the bacon together and into a flat patty so it crisps. Cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Divide the ground beef into 4 equal portions (8 ounces each) and form into 4 tight balls. Sprinkle the hamburger “ball” all over with salt and pepper. To the griddle pan (which still has some of the bacon fat on it) place the hamburger balls on and flatten with a strong, flat metal spatula. Flatten to approximately 1/3-inch thickness and continue to press down with the spatula as it cooks.

Cook until the burgers until they develop a crust on the first side, 1 1/2 minutes. Flip over and cook on the second side to develop a crust on that side, 1 minute. Add 2 ounces Mornay Sauce, if using, to the top of the hamburger and top with two slices of cheese. Place a dome lid over the top of the burger. Pour the chicken broth mixture on to the griddle top so the liquid runs under the dome and creates steam to cook the burger and melt the cheese. When the burger is at desired point of doneness and the cheese is completely melted, remove the dome lid and set the burgers aside.

Brush the cut sides of the buns lightly with butter to which you added garlic. Toast the buns on the griddle top until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 seconds. Flip and toast the outsides so they are also lightly toasted, 3 to 4 seconds.

To assemble: Smear the “Donkey” Sauce on the cut side of both bun halves. Layer the base with pickle slices, onions, and the hamburger patty. Top with a bacon “pig patty.” Top with tomato and lettuce, and then place the top half of the bun on top. Wrap in waxed parchment paper and serve immediately.

Mornay Sauce (Bechamel with Cheese):

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch grated nutmeg
3 ounces grated yellow American cheese

In a medium saucepan, add the butter and set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt, and then sprinkle with the flour and stir with a whisk. Cook over low heat until the butter and flour combine into a mixture like wet sand. Once combined, stir for 1 to 2 minutes to cook the flour (but without adding color). Pour in the milk slowly as you whisk to combine. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens up, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt, nutmeg and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside and keep warm until ready to use. Yield: 1 cup.

"Donkey" Sauce:

1 cup prepared mayonnaise
1/4 cup roasted garlic butter
1 teaspoon regular yellow mustard
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 pinches ground black pepper

Mix the mayonnaise, roasted garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper together until smooth. Yield: about 1 cup

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Fun Ship 2.0 Initiative While new features will dramatically transform the onboard experience, some ships will have them sooner than later and some ships will have more elements than others. Cruise Diva has the Details and the Implementation Schedule.

Get more of Guy Fieri's recipes from The Food Network

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