Those three Bs are far superior to Dwight Schrute’s favorites: bears, beets, and Battlestar Galactica (though my husband may disagree on the last one).
These burgers have been a long time coming. I drooled Homer Simpson style (twice) when Annie and Courtney first posted them, and then again when Josie did. They were just as good as I hoped. I mean, with an ingredient list like that, how could they not be?
These burgers have bacon in the jam, and directly in the burger, too. I made these with grass fed beef, which tends to be much leaner, but the bacon in the burgers provides some added fat, which means they still came out nice and juicy. So, you know, if you want to save a calorie or two. :)
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of onions, especially on a burger, but when they get really sweet from getting cooked down and then are doused with a hefty amount of balsamic, it’s hard to go wrong. I admit I was a bit hesitant about using red onion, since I pretty much never cook those and opt for vidalia instead, but they worked just perfectly.
Since burgers are by nature (almost) always better with cheese, I did add some smoked gouda to these, which was fabulous. It just added to the smoky, earthiness of these burgers.
Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam
Adapted from Fine Cooking
For the jam:
4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water
For the burgers:
2 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
1.25 lbs. ground beef or sirloin
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
thinly sliced smoked gouda
4 hamburger buns, split
To make the jam:
In a heavy-bottomed 12″ skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly browned but not yet crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of the bacon fat from the skillet.
Add the onion to the skillet, season with a little Kosher salt and pepper, cover the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, add a splash of water, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cover again, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to color, about 10-12 minutes.
Add the vinegar, mustard, and 1/3 cup water. Return the bacon to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened and most of it has been absorbed, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerate for up to 2 days and gently reheat before serving.
To make the burgers:
With a sharp knife or food processor, mince the bacon. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and add the ground beef, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, gently toss until well mixed but not overworked. Form into 4 equal patties, each 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Press your thumb in the center of each patty to create a deep depression.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill over medium-high heat. Grill the burgers over direct heat until grill marks form, 4 to 5 minutes (move them to indirect heat if any flare-ups occur). Flip the burgers and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more for medium (a faintly pink center). For more well done, cook an additional minute. Alternatively, you can broil the burgers or cook them in a heavy skillet with a little bit of oil.
Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent them with aluminum foil. Toast the cut sides of the buns on the grill for about 1 minute. Serve the burgers on the buns, topped with a rounded 1/4 cup of the jam.