It's good to be at the top of the food chain. Apologies to my vegetarian friends, but sometimes I just want a burger. Not just any burger, mind you: something that is magic on a bun. The kind of burger that I dream about at night. (Of course I dream about food. Don't you?) Recently, my dreams came true with a perfectly-seared burger that was stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in bacon:
Now, before you shrug and decide that's a burger that's best left to a restaurant outing, I'm here to say these were some of the simplest burgers I've put together. Really! All it takes is the right tools; namely, a small, shallow, round plastic container that can act as an aid in assembling the burgers. Once I had that, I simply laid two slices of smoked bacon across the container to form an X in the bottom and left the edges spilling over the sides of the container. Then I added about a quarter pound of high-quality ground beef. I'm lucky enough to have beef from a cow raised by my uncle, so I know what kind of meat I'm using! I pressed the meat into the container to form a bowl shape and spooned about a tablespoon of crumbled bleu cheese into the center of that "bowl". Then it was just a matter of mounding the ground beef over the cheese and taking the bacon that had been spilling over the sides of the container and laying them back over the newly formed patty to form another X. Before I knew it, I had a plate of burgers waiting to be cooked that looked like this:
I prepared my burgers in the early afternoon so that when it came time to cook them, I could just take my plate of formed patties out of the refrigerator and cook them until they reached the desired level of doneness. While I'm reluctant to order my burgers medium-rare in a restaurant, I happily did so with these. However, if you want to be more cautious about fully-cooking them, the recipe below has several rough guides for your use. I served the burgers alongside sweet potato fries, tomato-basil salads, and some pints of chilled beer. It was just what I wanted to see as I sat happily perched at the top of the food chain!
- 8 slices raw smoked bacon
- 1 lb. high-quality ground beef
- 4-5 T. crumbled bleu cheese
- 2 T. mayonnaise
- 2 T. sour cream
- 2 T. mustard -- choose your favorite variety
- 4 buns, toasted
Using a small, shallow, round plastic container (choose one having similar dimensions to your desired burger shape), place 2 strips of bacon crosswise in the bottom of the container, allowing the edges to overflow the container evenly, forming an "X" shape. Separate the ground beef into 4 equal sections and press one of the sections into the container over the bacon X. Press the center of the ground meat to form a divot and add about a tablespoon of crumbled bleu cheese to the divot. Carefully press the ground beef to form a patty over the top of the cheese. Grab the edges of the bacon strips that overflowed the container and bring them together on top of the patty to form another "X". Press the patty gently and turn the plastic container over. If necessary, gently tap the container to loosen the patty and set it on a plate.
Repeat this process until you have 4 patties formed. At this point, you can refrigerate the patties for up to 24 hours before cooking.
You can grill or broil these patties, but I opted to cook them on my indoor electric grill over medium-high heat for 6 minutes per side. That resulted in a medium-rare burger. If you prefer a more well-done burger, add 2-4 minutes of cooking time per side. Do not scorch the bacon.
While the burgers are cooking, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard to form a sauce. Toast the buns and slather 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce on the buns before adding a hot burger to them. Serve immediately.
- Yields: 4 burgers
- Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes