October 02, 2013 05:37 PM

Courtesy Rockit Burger Bar

Drawing long lines in Vegas, the ramen burger is the food phenomenon that won’t quit. So naturally, “What else can we make a hamburger bun out of?” fever is starting to sweep the country.

We’re not sure where else this trend will go (French fry buns? Pepperoni pizza buns?), but it’s off to a good start: Introducing Rockit Burger Bar‘s Mac Attack, an Angus beef patty housed between two deep-fried discs of creamy macaroni and cheese.

In Chicago, chef Amanda Downing serves the mac daddy burger with layers of crisp lettuce, thick tomato slices, chopped scallions and sriracha ketchup to give it a spicy-sweet kick—but of course, this beauty is all about the bun. We judge a good cheeseburger by how well the cheese melts, and this is the perfect way to get extra-oozey—and get a lot more of it! Plus, depending on how well you fry the mac discs, the crispness may hold up better than a traditional pillowy roll.

The burger is only available until October 6, but Downing gave PEOPLE her top-secret recipe so we can make it at home for the rest of our lives—or at least until we get sick of mac ‘n’ cheese. Which will be never.

As you can imagine, Downing makes her own four-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese (recipe at bottom) for the Mac Attack. But for the lazy cook, Easy Mac is where it’s at!

Mac Attack Burger

Makes 3 burgers 

Your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese (prepared with 4 sheets of gelatin whisked in—the patties keep their shape better when fried)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup coarse panko bread crumbs

½ tsp. salt, divided

½ tsp. black pepper, divided

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup vegetable oil

3 burger patties, plus desired toppings

1. Line a 13×9 baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly the coat paper and sides of pan with cooking spray. Pour the prepared mac ‘n’ cheese onto the baking sheet and spread out evenly; cover with another piece of parchment paper. Place a second baking sheet on top and place few soup cans on top to press and weigh it down. Place the tray in fridge until fully chilled and set, at least 3 hours.

2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Mix the flour, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in another bowl;  and the bread crumbs, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in a third bowl.

3. Remove the mac ‘n’ cheese from the fridge. Using a 3.25″ round biscuit cutter, cut out 6 discs. With your hands, dip each disc in the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, and place on the baking sheet.

4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the discs in batches, turning gently, until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

5. Add a cooked burger patty and desired toppings and serve immediately.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

4 cups heavy whipping cream

4 sheets gelatin

⅔ cups Parmesan, grated

1 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded

1 tbsp. Gorgonzola, crumbled

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

8 cups cooked cavatappi pasta

¾ cup cheddar, cut into ¼” cubes

1. In a large sauce pan over low heat, heat and simmer the cream until reduced about a third. The cream should lightly coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in gelatin sheets until dissolved. Whisk in Parmesan, cheddar jack, Gorgonzola, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

2. Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix until well combined. Cool pasta to room temperature and then fold in the cheddar cubes.

—Marissa Conrad

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