Since we seem to have “meat week” this week on the blog, I wanna set you up with yet another one of my favorites that I have learned to perfect over the years: The classic bacon cheeseburger. I’ll show you how to build a beautiful and mouth-watering bacon cheeseburger, explaining every step and giving shopping advice. In the end, you’ll see that grilling burger is easy and cheap, but there are a few small details that you need to get right to make it taste amazing.
There’s probably as many burger recipes as there are people in America, and it makes life interesting to taste different things when traveling or visiting friends. There’s few dishes that offer such a variety of experimenting and different combinations. You can prepare burgers with different kinds of meat, even fish, but the classic is of course beef. You can have burgers home-style or even prepared by a five-star chef: I’ve eaten a burger prepared by Chef Daniel Boulud where the beef patty was filled with Foie Gras (goose liver). An explosion of flavor and taste! (db Bistro, Singapore)
But let’s start with the basics, and then you can add your own variations and ideas! The first step, of course, is always shopping groceries. Make sure you get your hands on
4 Burger buns – preferrably Martin’s potato roll (as used by Shake Shack)
1 pound (or more) of ground beef – preferrably tasty cuts such as chuck or even ribeye
1 fresh tomato
8 slices bacon
4 large slices cheddar
BBQ Sauce (I like Bull’s Eye Classic)
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
As for the gear, things are similar as with the steak: The best burgers are grilled in a cast iron griddle pan, or even just a normal cast iron skillet. Use the griddle to have the typical “grilling” texture on the patties, and for more caramelized flavors. In addition, we need a large non-stick skillet for roasting the buns. I like to use a chef’s press to improve the meat cooking process, and even to help toasting the buns.
And now, let’s take a look at the preparation:
1. Prepare the burger patties. For each patty, form a round ball of about a quarter pound of ground beef, roll it hard in your hand and even squeeze it. On a plastic cutting board, form patties by pressing the ball with your palms until the desired shape is reached. Be sure to exert lots of pressure to make the patty stick. Cover the patties lightly with salt + pepper. Transfer on wax paper, and put in the freezer for about 10 minutes prior to grilling.
2. Prepare your “mise-en-place”: Cut and have ready all ingredients. Slice the cheese and tomatoes. Have the sauces at hand. Cut the buns in half. Roast the bacon. When the patties are on the grill, there’s no time for that anymore.
3. Heat up your grilling skillet, either the griddle pan or a cast-iron skillet to high heat. Do not add any oil. Heat up the non-stick skillet as well.
4. When ready, start grilling the patties. No turning back from this point. Grill them for 2 min, preferrably with a chef’s press on top. After 2 min, turn over and add a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Grill until the desired doneness – best is medium to medium well.
5. While grilling the patties, add butter into the nonstick skillet and toast the burger buns on the inside (where you cut them). Be sure they catch some butter and toast until lightly brown – not black.
6. Put the lower half bun on a plate, add mayo and BBQ sauce, then the grilled patty with the cheese on top. Add the cooked bacon and sliced tomato. Put some mustard on the inside of the top half bun, and cover the burger. Voilá!
Serve the burger as it is, or with freshly cooked french fries. To help with eating, you may stick a skewer through the burger to hold everything in place while you eat.