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Entries in Bleu Bacon and Italian Burgers (1)

Saturday
Jun012013

Bleu Bacon And Italian Burgers

The best burgers start with the best meat.  A grind of half sirloin and half chuck makes a really good burger.  You do need to make them by hand, or if you have a burger press, even better.  Just don’t press them too hard, or squeeze the meat too much.  Makes them tough.  

I use a grill plate on my gas grill, for lots of surface, and the result is a burger that will sear on the outside, and still be juicy on the inside.  Get your grill and the grill plate good and hot.

 

Basic Burger Ingredients (Yields 8 burgers)

4 lbs ground meat (8 ounces per burger)
4 Tbs vegetable oil (I use olive oil, but you don't have to)
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Form the burgers into 8 oz patties and place them on a tray.  If you want to make them in advance, cover them with plastic and leave in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.  In this case, cold is better than room temperature.
  • Mix the oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Heat the grill and the grill plate as high as it will go.
  • When the grill is very hot, lightly brush the top of the burgers and place them oil side down on the grill plate.  Don’t move them.  Shut the grill cover, and set your timer for 4 minutes.
  • And for goodness sake, don’t stand there with your spatula in one hand and your beer in another and squash them, just to hear the sizzle.  You are not helping them cook faster; you are just drying them out.  If you can’t stand it, just take your timer and go get another beer.
  • When the timer goes off, lightly brush the tops of the burgers and flip them.  Close the cover again and set the timer for 3 minutes for medium rare, 4 minutes for medium.  Take them off to a platter, place the cheese toppings on them, cover them and let them rest until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  • Build the burgers with the remaining ingredients as instructed.

Bleu Cheese Burger Toppings:

4 oz wedge of soft Bleu Cheese
½ stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tbs Worcester sauce
4 strips lean, hardwood smoked bacon, diced while its raw
2 large, sweet onions, peeled and diced
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

 

For the Onions:

  • I cook the onions early in the day I am going to serve the burgers, and just leave them in the pan, covered, until I’m ready to use them.  Then just turn the heat back on for a few minutes to warm them up before topping the burgers with them.
  • In a medium non-stick skillet, render the bacon over medium high heat in the olive oil until it is just starting to crisp.
  • Add the onions to the pan, toss them to get them coated with fat, and turn the heat down to medium to medium low.  Turn them every 5 minutes or so, until they become very caramelized.  This process takes a little while, don’t rush it.  
  • Add the Balsamic and season with salt and pepper, and let cook another five minutes.  It should look like dark onion jam.  

For the Bleu Cheese Butter:

  • In a food processor, mix the Bleu Cheese, softened butter and the Worcester sauce.
  • Scrape the mixture out of the bowl onto a sheet of waxed paper, making a log about the size of a stick of butter.
  • Fold the wax paper over, and gently press the log into a round, fold up the ends, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  You can make this well in advance.
  • When your burgers come off the grill, place a couple of slices of the bleu cheese butter, and then a tablespoon or two of the caramelized onions on top, tent with a pan cover or some foil, and let them rest until the cheese is melted.  I like to serve these on a soft onion roll.

Italian Burger Toppings

2 large, vine ripe, beefsteak tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves (or ½ cup Basil Olio Fra Diavlo)
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces good quality fresh mozzarella cheese or Fontina cheese
2-4 ounces of baby arugula
  • If you already have checked on my food blog, and have made your Olio Fra Diavlo, just mix it with the mayonnaise in a bowl.  If not, then put the fresh basil leaves in a food processor along with the mayonnaise and the garlic and process until smooth.  Keep chilled until ready to use.
  • Cut the tomatoes and slice the cheese onto a plate, and lightly salt and pepper all of it.  (I salt and pepper the mozzarella, but not the Fontina.)
  • When your burgers come off the grill, place a couple of slices of cheese on top, tent with foil or a pan cover until the cheese is melted. 
  • Spread the top and bottom of the roll with the basil mayo, place the burger on the bottom half, layer a tomato slice on top of the cheese, a small handful of the arugula, and then the top half of the roll.  I like a simple soft bakery or egg twist roll for these burgers.