Last minute lady

Less Than A Week and Counting…

It’s not exactly what I imagined for myself as a kid, but I seem to have made quite a reputation for myself on all things ground beef. Sounds kind of silly, right? First, there was my meatloaf, which I call “manloaf” because if you make it for a man he’s destined to fall in love with you. I whipped one up on Oprah and I still have people in the grocery store say, “Hey –love your meatloaf!” Warms my heart.

Being on Oprah was certainly a highlight, but the real shining moment in my ground beef coups came a few months ago, on a balmy night in October, just across the bridge in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo. Somehow, I won the New York Wine and Food Festival Burger Bash!

Katie Lee Joel at the Burger Bash in NYC

The Burger Bash has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the food world. It all started a few years ago at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival and quickly became the most popular and anticipated event of the entire festival. Think Star Trek convention for burger fans. Tickets sell out within a few short hours, chefs are fiercely competitive, attendees take their vote very seriously, and the victor is the hot topic of conversation for the festival’s entirety. At the first annual New York Wine and Food Festival, I was lucky enough to be that winner.

Let me start by saying I never expected to win. Never. I entered just for fun and the opportunity to hang out with some chefs and talk to other burger lovers. Little did I know…

My plat du jour — Logan County Hamburgers, a recipe inspired by my grandma. This isn’t your typical hamburger – it’s more like a grilled cheese with a burger stuffed inside. You see, burgers are my favorite food. But please, no fancy cheeses or toppings. No truffle butter, foie gras, or chutneys – just give me the basics. American cheese, pickles, ketchup, and yellow mustard, thank you very much.

Logan County Hamburgers are named for my grandma’s hometown in West Virginia. When she was growing up, they didn’t have much money, so they had to make their meat go a long way – one pound of beef stretches to at least 6 burgers. To the beef I add some grated onion, along with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and an egg to hold it all together. After shaping the meat into thin patties, I cook them on a griddle, then sandwich it between two slices of American cheese and buttered white bread. Then back to the griddle to toast. Buttered bread, melted cheese, and ground beef – what’s not to love??

Now some naysayers made accusations that the Logan County Hamburger wasn’t really a hamburger, but instead a patty melt and nothing more than a glorified grilled cheese. I say, call it what you wish. As long as it tastes good, I’m eating it.

Next Thursday, February 19th, I will be defending my title in South Beach. The best of the best in burgers will be there and I’m looking forward to tasting all of them. People have asked me my strategy, but I’m going in with the same attitude that I had in New York – I just want to have fun. If I win, fantastic. If not, it’s not the end of the world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my canines are watering – all this burger talk has flung a cravin’ on me. Off to the butcher!

Katie Lee Joel’s award winning recipe for Logan County Hamburgers:

Logan County Hamburgers
Yields 6 Servings


  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium yellow onion, half grated, the other half thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices white bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 slices American cheese, optional


In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, grated onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined. Form into thin patties.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Drain the grease from the skillet.

In the same skillet, place six slices of bread, butter side down. Top each with a slice of cheese, if desired, some onions, and a burger. Top with remaining slices of cheese, if using, and bread, butter side up. Cook each sandwich until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with mustard, ketchup, pickles, or any other desired hamburger toppings.

You can find Katie’s book, The Comfort Table at

28 Responses to “Less Than A Week and Counting…”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know how aware you are, but your name (Rachael Ray) is linked to several Acai berry products that sell a “trial” product for 4.95 and then they start charging your card at will! I just went through a lengthy process with my bank (woo hoo BofA has great customer service) and found out that somewhere there was tiny print that said they would be charging me . . . am I dumb, yes, a little! Have I learned a lesson? Most definitely!! None the less, anything Ms. Ray does is tops in my book, but being associated with some of these websites may not be a great idea! Just an FYI!

  2. debbie says:

    Thought I was the only one this happened to. The Rachael Ray was what caught my eye on this ad also. I went through the same thing with my bank and had to cancel my debit card. I also have learned a lesson. I still think the most of Rachael Ray but next time I will be wearing my glasses while looking for the tiny print. Cook on.

  3. Amy Deupi says:

    Dear Katie,

    It is an enormous pleasure to view you on “Rachel Ray” or the “Foodnetwork”. I so enjoy your fresh and relaxed approach to the culinary arts as well as lifestyle. Even though you carry the Celebrity name of “Joel”, your humble demeanor and fresh approach to “home cooking” with an elegant touch is wonderful. I have purchased tickets for the SOBE Food and Wine Festival and my dream is to meet YOU, Rachel Ray or Paula Dean! Anyone of you would just make my day complete!! An entire melting pot of flavors and talents, what a fantastaic event it will truly be! I am counting the days until Feb. 19th!

    I wish you luck on the Lougan Burger contest at the “Burger Bash”! Maybe Bobby Flay will challenge you to a Throw Down !! Now, that would be a spectacular segment to watch!!

    Keep up your fresh and elegant approach it is truly wonderful!

    Amy Deupi

  4. lisa says:

    I also ordered the acai berry free trail because of it being linked to not only Rachel Ray but also with Oprah and Dr.Oz. I actually got a call from my bank stating that the name and the way my debit card was charge was linked to internet scams and advised me to cancel my debit card. I guess this will teach me to read the fine print that goes along with these ads more closely. Thanks to my bank I didn’t lose any money except the 4.95 for the free trial

  5. Kitty says:

    I just ordered the acai berry free trial but I read the terms it said they would start shipping you more and start charging you unless you call with in the 15 day trial time.My bank also called me and asked if the charges on my card was what I charged and they was. I think I’ll go and talk to my bank first thing Monday just to make sure. I’m glad I seen these comments.

  6. Jay says:

    The acai berry products are not connected with or linked to Rachel Ray, Oprah and Dr.Oz. They talked about it on their shows so the scammmers print this so it sounds like there is a connection, which there is NOT.

  7. Kristen says:

    Congratulations, Katie and good luck in the South Beach contest! You have a lot to be proud of!

  8. Amy Meyer says:

    I love to watch you cook. You have such a great presence. You and Rachael are my favorites to watch. I am on dialysis (waiting for a transplant) and was given a kidney friendly cookbook, with several recipes that you had adapted for your Grandfather. I love the turkey meatloaf. I have been such a fan since then. Keep up the great cooking.

  9. Amy Meyer says:

    Good Luck in South Beach. I’m rooting for you.

  10. Jessica says:

    Country roads, take me home. This burger sounds delicious, and anything that will take me back home is good for me! It’s nice to see a fellow West Virginian doing so well!

  11. Maria says:

    I wish I was going to the SOBE Festival! I am stuck in Los Angeles! Have fun Katie and good luck with the contest! Give Rachael a hug from her fans!

  12. dUDz says:

    Hi all!

    I too mispelled the names of these girls and found acai berry site too! Be carefull in typing the URL or website adderss cause you will be misled to acai berry’s ADS…

  13. dUDz says:


    Here are the people behind acai berry IP address location & more:
    Host of the IP: [Whois]
    Host IP [?]: [Whois] [Reverse IP]
    IP address country: United States
    IP address state: Texas
    IP address city: Houston
    IP postcode: 77002
    IP address latitude: 29.752300
    IP address longitude: -95.366997
    Local time in United States: 2009-02-18 04:15

  14. JohnNed says:

    Good luck and have fun in SoBe! I had your burger at the NYC Burger Bash and it’s a winner. Wish I was going to the South Beach Wine & Food Fest but I’m sitting this year out. I just can’t afford it. I’ll be thinking about everyone at the Burger Bash while enjoying a burger at Bobby’s Burger Palace near my home in NJ on Thursday night… I’ll have to make my own party.

  15. martha 398 says:

    Ialso ordered acai berry for only the shipping price. I orderd it again for my daughter .Ithen found out I was charged 43.00 dollars twice. Iwas very upset because Icould not afford this.I spoke to the company, they were nasty to me and the bank….to no avail. Ihad to cancel my credit card because I was also being charged for a HOODIA which Ididn’t even know what that was. but anyway I WILL NOTorder online again.

  16. julie says:

    To Jennifer: YIKES!!! can’t believe your blog!!! I just happened upon it and found the same exact thing happened to me! I also purchased the Acai and they emptied my account also! They took the only money I had to live on and it was horrible trying to get it back. Can’t Rachel or Oprah stop them with all of their legal eagles? Really glad you printed that. Katie-your burger is not a patty melt. The original hamburgers (check out Travel Channel) were made in the same way. On grilled toast!thanks, Julie

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi Katie,
    My husband is NOT meatloaf fan–any recipe I try is an “It’s ok.” However, he LOVES these burgers, and I do too. Whenever I mention them, I tell people I got it from your book. They are so easy and so fun!

  18. claire salter says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I tried the logan county burgers one Thursday night and we fell in love with them, my husband loved so much we had them again on the weekend. They are a must to try.

    Claire Salter

  19. Sandi says:

    Hi… I havent read you cookbook yet but plan on it soon. I wish you the very best. I met Billy at his first promo party and he was a great guy.. congrats on your marriage and your cookbook.

  20. Rachel says:

    I havent got any of your cook books yet but i am saving up money to buy one. I would love to try some of your recipes. want to know a secret? Well i go home every day from school and start cooking and when i dont know what to cook from my imagination i use a cook book. but to say it is my recipe i add my own ingridience and special taste. Then it is mine. please comment back. Thanks.
    P.S. my initials make RAV so instead of Rachael Ray i am Rachel Rav. :-)♥

  21. Jenny says:

    EXCELLENT burgers. Definately will become a family favorite. I made them following exact directions and they were just unbelievable. IMO better than the steakburger at Steak n’ Shake!!! Great work!

  22. janni says:

    I also got caught in the Acai program..had to cancel my card to keep them from using it…my bank said they weere getting many complaints..I explored until I could get the Acai people on the phone..and told them, my bank was sending me fraud papers to fill out, and gave them a time limit to have all my money back in my acct…I got all the funds back pronto…..I’m sure that Rachel and Opra etc. can get their lawyers involved…Rachel is darling and very hoinest, it seems..and as far as Katie Joel goes she is very poised…and creataive..I hope for her success. thanks

  23. Sharon says:

    These burgers are wonderful! They are so easy and so good! I used white American chesse (from the deli) and Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread. I made them again with a different bread but the PF was the best of the two. These are now in my rotation of recipes!

  24. Roseann says:

    Jennifer, I know what you mean about the Acai Berry. I also fell into the trap of purchasing the rial offer for $4.95……because I saw it on the Rachel Ray site……and I also got charged $85.95. I called the company and they told me the same thing about the small print. Well, I called my bank and also called the company again and this time told them that I had contracted a lawyer. Long story short…..they told me that my money would be refunded…..Will keep you posted.

  25. james says:

    hi i love the way you cook….thank you

  26. canadiangirlrox says:

    Katie ,
    I’ve been following your cooking & I love it! Friends with Rachael & Paula, you are so cool!
    SORRY Katie but had to respond these comments that had NOTHING to do with you!
    As for Acai scam, as Rachael has said her name is (spelled) (RACH)AE(L) not E(L)or EA(L). Check before you send! Also, Rachael does not ask for your credit card or bank account info unless you are buying a product.

  27. Thena says:

    Katie, This recipe sure takes me back to my childhood. I was born in Logan Hospital in 1952 and even though I was raised in my parents Drive-In restaurant (with traditional burgers) I too remember family get-togethers(with my extended family) with burgers on regular sliced bread sometimes grilled in a big iron skillet and sometimes not. Buns were not as readily available in our little country stores as they are today! What a wonderful life we had there growing up in Logan and Mingo county, WV. I would guess that my parents knew your Grandmother! So proud for your sucess and your tribute to your Grandmother.

  28. Andi says:

    Hello Katie Lee! I went to high school w/ you here in good ole’ WV. Congratulations on all your success! We r all so proud of you! :) I am from Logan County and I am glad you can pass on one of our traditions! Good luck and God Bless! – Andi J

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