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Gourmet Sandwiches - Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe
The Decadent Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe
The Decadent Bacon Cheeseburger
While watching Rachael vs Guy the other night my wife and I saw Racheal's team do up a bacon cheese burger with bacon minced right into the ground beef. Knowing that a good burger does not exclusively rely on ground beef we thought I'd share our mix and add Racheal's idea for bacon. Our secret is the thyme. We were in a butcher shop who also provides cooked food and got to taste a roast where the owner included thyme in the recipe and we've been sold ever since and regularly add thyme to meat dishes. You can overdo it too so if you haven't used it before stick wit the amount here and experiment on your own using our amount as a reference point. Like all herbs dried thyme lasts about 6 months and starts to loose it's potency as it ages so if you have some really old herbs hanging out in your kitchen consider replacing them. You will get more consistent results.
To cut the bacon up I finely minced it but you could also use a food processor. The idea is to uniformly distribute the bacon throughout the mix. Anyway you get there is fine.
We use cayenne pepper in a lot of dishes and we don't use it for the heat. The level used here will impart flavour without the heat. I've convinced at least one person that heat is not a flavour and the reduction of hot ingredients really changes a meal for the good.
To make uniform size burgers without using a scale I used a 1/2 cup measuring spoon and I was able to get 9 burgers from 3 lbs of burger mixture. That's 1/3 pound each. You can choose the size of your burger by using different measurements so you can stretch your dinner to accommodate more folks with some small changes.
The other thing we do is to add bread to the mix. This is not done to extend the number of servings but done to give the meat the right consistency. We use an egg in the mix and without the bread the meat would be more solid. The bread makes for a lighter texture and it does help preserve some flavour as well.
- 3 lb lean ground beef
- 13 strips thick cut bacon
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme, more or less to taste
- 1/2 tsp more or less to taste cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 4 slice of bread - crust removed, make bread into fine cubes
- 9 thick clices sharp cheddar cheese, real cheddar preferred (not process cheese slices)
- 9 leaves curly lettuce
- 9 - 1/4 inch slices large tomato, A large tomato will allow you to use just one slice keeping the toppings neater.
- 9 gourmet hamburger buns of your choice, Soft or crusty, seed toppings or not, it's entirely up to you.
- 1 large valida onion sauteed, This is a topping and is optional
- 1 tablespoon per sandwich mayonnaise, optional and to taste
- other toppings, ketchup, relish, etc as you wish, all toppings are optional.
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- Cut the onion into thin rings and start to cook them in a lightly oiled frying pan. Onions are best cooked long and slow. Valida onions are sometimes called sweet onions and are double the price of yellow cooking onions but are worth it. Do a side by side comparison sometime.
- Finely chop 4 slices of the bacon and reserve 9 of the slices for the topping
- Cut bread into tiny cubes so when blended with the ground beef the cubes will disappear. Bread prevents some shrinkage and preserves the fat to increase flavour. It also provides for a burger that seems more tender and is easier to eat.
- Fry the 9 slices of thick bacon in a pan to the desired crispiness. Personally I would cook them until slightly crispy but not so crispy that you could make bacon bits.
- Thoroughly mix the ground beef, egg, thyme, cayenne pepper and the chopped portion of the uncooked bacon together. Include salt and pepper to taste here remembering that you have already added the cayenne pepper. You can choose to mix the meat ingredients ahead of time to have the ingredient flavours blend.
- Form the meat mixture into 9 burgers and grill on a hot barbecue done to medium well. This will depend on the thickness of your burgers but generally 3-5 minuted per side. To make nice grill lines do not move burgers until you are ready to flip them or remove them.
- In the last 30 seconds of cooking add the thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese. The cheese should just be starting to melt at the edges when you remove the burger from the grill. Cook the cheese too much and it will run off the burger.
- Put the open buns (inside to the grill surface) on the grill and lightly toast. Toasting adds extra flavour but is optional.
- Place the lettuce on the bottom of half of the bun to prevent hamburger juices and ingredients from making the bun soggy.
- Each bacon cheese burger gets one slice of bacon in this recipe and it should be enough just to fold the bacon to top the burger.