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Bold Blue Cheeseburgers

What's the secret to grilling the perfect burger? Most people who do it on a regular basis know the basics. But how about the newcomers to backyard barbecuing?

Here are a few tips from "Weber's Time to Grill: Get in. Get out. Get Grilling" by Jamie Purviance (Sunset, $24.95).

Use an 80/20 blend of ground chuck -- that's 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat. You can get by with 83/17 ground round.

Season the meat as you like, but handle it as little as possible. Shape into ¾-inch-thick patties. To prevent burgers from puffing up like tennis balls, make a depression about ¼-inch deep and a half-dollar in diameter in the center of each.

Brush oil on each side of the burgers; grill over direct medium heat until desired doneness, flipping once. And don't press down on the patties; it just forces the juices out.

With those tips in mind, here's a good-looking recipe for burgers that are topped with my favorite cheese -- blue -- and a thick slice of red onion.

Bold Blue Cheeseburgers with Grilled Red Onion

1¼ pounds ground beef chuck or ground round

1 teaspoon favorite all-purpose seasoning

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

8 slices (½-inch-thick) red onion

Olive oil for brushing on onions

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 sandwich rolls

Leaf lettuce

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (see note)

Preheat or prepare the grill for medium heat. Oil the grates.

In a bowl, mix together the ground beef, all-purpose seasoning and black pepper. Shape the mixture into patties, about 3 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Make a depression in the center, about ¼-inch deep and a half-dollar in diameter, so the meat has room to expand.

Place the onions on a platter. Brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Grill the burgers and onions about 8 minutes total or until the onions are slightly charred and the burgers are cooked to desired doneness. During the last minute or so of grilling, toast the cut side of the buns. Remove from the grill and place lettuce on the bottom bun. Top with a burger and place some crumbled blue cheese on top. Let the cheese melt slightly and then top with grilled onions and the bun top.

Yield: Serves 4.

Note: Use a good-quality blue cheese such as Gorgonzola.

Approximate nutritonal analysis per serving: 551 calories, 50 percent of calories from fat, 31 grams fat (12 grams saturated), 26 grams carbohydrates , 42 grams protein , 649 milligrams sodium , 140 milligrams cholesterol , 4 grams fiber.