Ah, summer in Atlanta, where you can get drenched in sweat simply from watering the garden. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer here in the States and it’s been in the upper 90′s all week here in the Dirty Dirty South, so I’m considering summer in full swing. If it’s summertime, then it’s grilling time!
Honestly, I grill all year long, a benefit of living in a warmer state, but my Northern upbringing still makes me associate grilling with summer. I can remember going to my grandparents’ on a Sunday afternoon and my grandmother grilling out on the driveway. I don’t know why she didn’t grill in the backyard, or why my grandfather didn’t grill, but I remember her making food and then everyone eating on the picnic table in the backyard and then playing bocce. Those were great times.
So, with that in mind (and no readily apparent food that would go along with Daggerdale), I’m sharing my favorite grilling recipe, namely bacon cheeseburgers, but not any bacon cheeseburgers. No, these are bacon cheeseburgers with a twist. I apologize in advance to vegetarians, Muslims and those keeping Kosher as I’ve got nothing for you this week.
Ironically enough, this recipe comes from Steven Raichlen’s book Indoor! Grilling. Personally, I’ve never had much success grilling indoors as I can’t get my various pans hot enough, but hey, a good grilling recipe is a good grilling recipe. I have a lot of grilling recipe books like this, where I buy a book and use just one recipe. It’s not the most economical approach, but I get a good food out of it, so I don’t care.
The twist to this recipe is that the bacon and cheese are worked into the patties prior to grilling which gives the burgers an amazing taste. Add to that a nice chipotle mayo and you’ve got a hell of a burger. My good buddy Mr. Bones can attest to this as he’s had them personally. Bonesy is one of those people that makes me feel like we were brothers in another life because of how much we dig the same things. You know, the kind of guy that has you thinking that you wish you’d grown up with because of all of the fun you would have had, until you keep thinking about it and realize that you both would have ended up jailed, dead or part of an epic story that people told whenever the words “chicken coop” were mentioned. Bones is a great guy who has had a lot of shit thrown his way, but he keeps his head down and keeps on keeping on. He loves horror movies, comic books video games and is totally devoted to the Auburn Tigers and two of the most adorable kids in the world. I don’t talk to him as much as I should on account of me being an antisocial bastard, but he knows I’ve got his back and when this zombie shit goes down, and you know it will, we’ll meet half way between Valley and Atlanta and bust undead domes until civilization rebuilds itself. But I digress. Let’s make some burgers.
A New Cheeseburger – Steven Raichlen
Makes four burgers.
1. 4 thick slices bacon or 6 – 8 thin slices
2. 1 1/2 lb ground sirloin or ground chuck – I don’t care about the fat content when I’m making burgers as the fat usually cooks out of the meat and leaves the burgers quite juicy.
3. 6 oz smoked cheddar or other smoked cheese, coarsely grated – I use applewood smoked cheddar. Yum.
4. 1 clove garlic, minced
5. Coarse salt
6. 1/2 cup mayo
7. 1 – 2 canned chipotle peppers with 1 Tbl adobo sauce – you can usually find these in the Latin food section.
8. 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
9. Four hamburger buns
10. Lettuce, tomato, onion slices, whatever garnish you want.
1. Cook the bacon until crisp however you choose to cook your bacon (frying pan, microwave, whatever). Drain, cool and crumble it.
2. Combine the bacon, ground beef, cheese and garlic in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon. Form them into four evenly shaped patties. Use a spoon to make an indentation in the middle of each patty to keep them from turning into meatballs on the grill. Place the patties on a plate, cover them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes. Don’t skimp on the fridge time. Making the patties with your hands is going to warm them up and make them more susceptible to falling apart on the grill.
3. Heat the grill to medium.
4. While the grill is heating up, mince the chipotle peppers.
5. Mix the peppers, mayo and paprika in a bowl, stirring until everything is fully mixed. Place in the fridge until the burgers are done.
6. Season the patties with salt and grill them over medium heat for 4 – 6 minutes per side for medium well to well done burgers. Keep an eye on the burgers as the combination of cheese and bacon make them susceptible to flare-ups, so keep the patties moving around the grill.
7. Once the burgers are done, (I use the poke test to check), put them on the buns, slather some of your fancy mayo on them and dress them however you want. Delicious
For the record, the poke test is where you poke the meat and based on how much give there is, it tells you how done the meat is. If there’s a lot of give, it’s rare. If it gives just a little, but it mostly firm, it’s well done. It’s not scientific, but it beats serving a burger or steak that has a bunch of cuts in it.
Still hungry? Check out the Don’t Shoot the Food archive.