barbecue bacon cheeseburgers
It’s Father’s Day this weekend and I’m bringing out the big guns. No wimpy little chicken breasts. No kale-enhanced casseroles. Nothing low-cal, low-carb or low-fat. We’re going for flavor! When I polled several local Dads, they weren’t interested in anything fancy or involved. And they wanted BEEF.
So this is my homage to Dad’s everywhere. A bacon infused burger – not topped, not crumbled. INFUSED. As in — in the meat. Aside from a little salt and pepper – there’s not much more to this.
In order to get the bacon finely ground, I chopped it first, then stuck it in the freezer for 20 minutes. When it was sufficiently solid, I transferred the chopped bacon to my mini food processor and gave it a few pulses. It wasn’t pretty, but the bacon was fine enough to be worked throughout the beef. I also added a few tablespoons of water to the meat. It steams and helps the bacon cook fully, plus, it adds a cragginess to the burger that I like. Not perfect, but rustic. And definitely full of flavor.
Form your patties to slightly larger than the circumference of your buns and use your thumb (if you have inordinately hulk-like hands) or the back of a spoon (like I did) to put a divot in the center of your burger. When the meat expands (and it will), the burger will keep it’s natural patty shape instead of that weird round dome that always seems to plague homemade burgers.
You don’t have to do this step — but come on — it’s Father’s Day and everyone likes lightly toasted buns!
I used a mixture of Monterey Jack and mild cheddar — for flavor and gooey-ness. Pepper Jack would be amazing as well. I could go all crazy with toppings, but I’m listening to you Dads who want to keep things simple. Lettuce, tomato, red onion and some jalapenos if you’re so inclined.
Grill to your desired doneness and sprinkle on the cheese during the last minute or so of cooking.
You could use the standard ketchup, mayo or mustard, but we decided to go all cowboy and top these beauties with barbecue sauce. Sweet, spicy and smoky. Eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head good!
OMG. Must. Eat. Now.
- 1 1/4 pounds ground chuck
- 2 thick slices of bacon or 4 thin slices, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
- fresh lettuce leaves
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1-2 jalapeños, thinly sliced (remove seeds and membrane if you don't like it too hot)
- 1/3 cup favorite barbecue sauce
- 4 fresh hamburger buns
- small dill pickles for garnish
- Place the chopped bacon in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until very firm. Transfer the bacon to a mini prep food processor and pulse until the bacon is very fine. (freezing makes it easier to achieve the fine texture.)
- Place the ground chuck into a bowl and add the bacon, salt, pepper and water. Fold the bacon and seasonings into the beef to blend evenly - but try not to overwork the meat. Form the beef into four 4" patties about 1/3-1/2" thick. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon to form a depression in the center of each patty.
- Heat the grill to 450 degrees.
- While the grill is heating, slice the buns in half and assemble the rest of the toppings. Combine the monterey jack and cheddar together and transfer to a small bowl.
- Grill the buns on the cut side for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned and set aside.
- Place the burgers on the grill and cook 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare to medium. During the last minute of cooking, sprinkle on about 1/4 cup of cheese for each burger. Transfer burgers to a baking sheet or cutting board.
- Dress your burgers using lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapeño peppers and barbecue sauce. Serve with crunchy dill pickles.