Looks awesome, John. Here's the recipe.
Grilled Bacon Burgers with Caramelized Onion
Why put bacon on your burger when you can put bacon in it?
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
Changing bacon from an add-on to an add-in promised savory, bacony bliss in every bite. But mixing raw bacon with raw ground beef overworked and compressed the patties so that they cooked up tough and dry, and cooked crumbled bacon—though it mixed in better—tasted too crunchy. For the most bacon flavor and juicy texture, we processed raw bacon in the food processor and then cooked it briefly in a skillet so it would incorporate easily into the ground beef and disperse more bacon flavor throughout the burgers while staying moist and juicy. To take these burgers to even higher heights, we topped them with crumbled blue cheese and onion that we sautéed in some of the leftover bacon fat.
8 slices bacon
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1 ½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled and chilled (1 cup) (optional)
4 hamburger buns, toasted
Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls are our favorite hamburger buns, and Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon is our favorite thin-sliced bacon. Be gentle when shaping the patties, taking care not to overwork the meat, or the burgers will become dense. Serve the burgers with lettuce and tomato, if desired.
1. Process bacon in food processor to smooth paste, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Cook bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until lightly browned in spots but still pink (do not cook until crispy), about 5 minutes, breaking up pieces with spoon. Drain bacon in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate and let cool completely. Reserve bacon fat.
2. Add 2 tablespoons reserved fat to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until well browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
3. Spread beef in even layer in rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle bacon, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt over beef. Gently toss with 2 forks to combine. Divide beef mixture into 4 equal mounds. Gently shape each mound into 3/4-inch-thick patty about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Using your fingertips, press center of each patty down until about 1/2 inch thick, creating slight divot. (Patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
4A. Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
4B. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
5. Clean and oil cooking grate. Season patties with pepper. Cook patties divot side down, uncovered, until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip patties and top each with 1/4 cup blue cheese, if using. Cover and continue to cook until burgers register 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 degrees (for medium), about 2 minutes longer. Transfer burgers to buns, top with onion, and serve.
MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION
When we make burgers, we always form a shallow indentation in the center of each patty before cooking it. That’s because the collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bulging burger, press a 1/4-inch-deep divot into the center of each patty. When the collagen tightens, it will cause the divot to fill out so that it is level with the rest of the patty.
SHOPPING FOR BURGER BUNS
Ultimate burgers deserve top-notch buns. Our favorites are Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls: They boast a mild sweetness that pairs well with a rich, salty beef burger. They also have a particularly light, tender, moist texture. That’s because instead of hydrating the dough with water, Martin’s uses a mixture of potato flakes, milk, and butter (essentially mashed potatoes). Mashed potatoes are hefty and substantial, but in potato rolls, the milk protein and butterfat weaken the structure of the dough, leaving the rolls softer, moister, and more tender.
Bacon in Every Bite
For bacony goodness in every bite, we fold tiny pieces of partially cooked bacon into the ground beef. Grind eight slices of bacon to a paste in a food processor, and cook the paste gently in a nonstick skillet for just 5 minutes. Strain off the fat (reserve it for cooking the onion) before incorporating the cooled bacon into the beef.
FLAVOR FLECKS: We mix bacon bits deep into each patty.