Annie and I didn’t plan in advance what meals we’d make while I was there, though a certain dessert (which you’ll see Friday) was on our list. She actually had this recipe on her menu plan for the prior week but wasn’t able to make it. When I saw it on the menu board in her kitchen, I told her how awesome it sounded. We decided to make it for dinner the following night, and that was a very good decision. Perhaps my favorite part of cooking this dinner was how excited Andrew got when he found out it would be cooked on the grill.
This burger is, without a doubt, a bacon lover’s burger. Not only is there bacon in the jam, but bacon is also cooked right into the burger. The jam is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I love caramelized onions, and adding bacon and balsamic to them makes them completely irresistible. The burgers are incredibly juicy and are almost sinful when topped with the jam. Since I obviously couldn’t bring home a burger to Eric, I will definitely be making these soon so that he can experience their awesomeness.
Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam
For the jam:
4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water
For the burgers:
2 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
1-1/2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns, split
Sliced Gruyere cheese, optional
Cook the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat until lightly browned but not crisp, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of oil from the skillet.
Add the onion to the skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and add a splash of water, then scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, mustard and water. Return the bacon to the skillet and simmer until the liquid has thickened and most of it has been absorbed, 2-4 minutes. Transfer the jam to a small bowl, let cool slightly and cover with plastic wrap. The jam can be left at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days. If refrigerated, gently reheat before serving.
To make the burgers, mince the bacon. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the beef, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Gently combine until well mixed but not overworked. Form into 4 equal patties, each about 3/4 to 1-inch thick. Using your thumb, make a deep depression in the center of each payy to prevent them from swelling during cooking.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (400º to 450º). Grill the burgers over direct heat until grill marks form, 4-5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes for medium doneness. For more well done burgers, cook an additional minute. As the burgers are finishing up, add cheese if desired. Transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil. Toast the buns on the grill for about 1 minute. Top each burger with about 1/4 cup of jam and serve immediately.
Source: Fine Cooking, July 2011