Saturday, November 5, 2011

Emberger Royal with Fries

Back in the late 1960's, there was a chain of restaurants in Minnesota called Embers. While they managed to survive for some 30+ years past that, they are gone now. My favorite Embers used to sit at 7700 Normandale Boulevard in Edina. Time has erased any trace of the restaurant and that location now hosts a DQ Chill and Grill. Oh, the horror.

I was a student at Edina High School at the time. The Edina football program in the 60's was the equivalent of Eden Prairie today. Under the tutelage of Stav Canakes, the Edina Hornets dominated the Lake Conference. So every Friday night that Edina played a home game, there were two things that were certain. We'd see a great football game under the lights at the Edina High School field and then we'd head to Embers for an Emberger Royal with fries. While us skinny, little 146-pound soccer players could not play football, we could do our best to eat like a lineman.

The Emberger Royal was the quintessential bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce. While their recipe called for a quarter pound burger, we will be using a third pound burger for our homemade version. And not just any third pound burger, mind you, but the king of all third pound burgers...Kirkland Signature Sirloin Burgers from Costco. These burgers are so friggin' delicious for two simple reasons: they are made from sirloin steak and they have a 35% fat content. These are the tastiest pre-made burgers on the market today. The only way to beat the taste is to grind your own...a laborious process.

The other trick to making this great meal at home is to have really good fries. Unless you have a deep fryer and an affinity for cleaning up kitchen grease, it's hard to get restaurant quality fries at home. But I have found one product that comes really close and it's easy to make the fries as you bake them in your oven. The product is Ore Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries. I've found that by cooking them on two rimmed baking pans (so they are not crowded) for 24 minutes and letting them rest for 4 minutes gives you perfect homemade fries every time.

This recipe serves four, contains no calories and is both carbohydrate and cholesterol free.

4 Kirkland Signature Sirloin Burger patties
8 strips bacon*
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Ken Davis)
4 sesame seed buns
Salt and pepper to taste
1, 26 ounce bag Ore Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450º.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add bacon strips and cook until crisp. Put cooked bacon strips on paper towels. (Alternately, you could roast the bacon in your 450º oven for 6-10 minutes, depending on bacon thickness.)
  3. Use two large rimmed baking sheets (or cookie sheets) and put half of the fries on one and the other half on the other. Slide the two pans into the oven (on different racks). Switch rack positions 12 minutes into the cooking process. After 24 minutes, remove the pans and let fries rest for 4 minutes (this will crisp them up).
  4.  To cook the burgers, heat a griddle to 350º. (You may alternately use a large skillet or grill at medium high heat.) Cooking the patties from frozen, cook the first side for 5 minutes. Then flip the burgers, add salt and pepper to taste and top each burger with a slice of cheddar cheese. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Place cooked burgers on sesame seed buns. Top each with two strips of bacon and 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce.
  6. Salt the fries and divide among serving plates.  

* If you want to do bacon fast and easy, check this out:

Wine pairing: Zinfandel


  1. The original Emberger royal had one slice of onion, 2 bacon, a 1/4 pound patty , american cheese on a toasted sesame seed bun. Embers sauce was made from Open Pit BBQ sauce. Worked at the Midway Embers as a cook for three years in the late 70's.

    1. I worked at Midway Embers in the 70's too. I really want the Emmy and Bleu Cheese recipes 💕 I had them once upon a time. Sincerely, Linda

    2. From working at Embers lol

  2. Emmy sauce was a mix of Ken davis and open pit with a splash of liquid smoke and a shot of orange juice. I was a cook from 1986 to 1995

  3. This post is from 2011, but here we are 10 years later with at least two people reminiscing about these burgers in the same month.

    I had my first Emberger in roughly 10-15 years yesterday. There is still a location near 694/65. It was freaking amazing. It's funny, I never really regarded their sauce as BBQ, rather it was just 'sauce' to me. I appreciate knowing the mix, so thank you! It will be good to know in the event this Ricky's Embers doesn't survive through the pandemic. I will be driving the 15 miles to support them at least once a month hoping they make it, the notes above will be my backup plan because I need these burgers in my life. :)

  4. Just saw in the paper that the last Embers restaurant closed today.