Even though I have a very nice, but basic, Weber Kettle grill sitting on my patio at my beck and call, it's been well over six months since I used it to make a burger. I love burgers, but don't make them very often. Odd. So, I was very happy to see Big Burger Ballyhoo 2007 over at Writing At The Kitchen Table. There's always something interesting going on there with the adorable Freya and Paul, and the latter's idea of people making their best burger recipes is a great way to get me outside flipping a disk of meat over hot coals.
At first, I thought of fish, lamb, or mushroom burgers. But, my favorite way to eat a burger is pretty simple. I like them with cheese and bacon. And tomatoes. But, the tomatoes I'm growing are still green, so I did without that ingredient. My burger is made with organic beef (not required, but it's a good brand), homemade thousand island dressing, boston lettuce, red onions, and applewood-smoked bacon, on a sesame seed bun. It wasn't fancy, but it was delicious. I controlled myself and had just one, but Bob eagerly scarfed down two of these bad boys with gusto. By the way, you can't see any bacon in the photo, because I forgot to put it on. After I took the picture and began to eat it, I realized it was missing and corrected the problem. This was a wonderful burger.
Is it worth it to make your own thousand island dressing? You bet. And it's so simple to do. McDonald's makes such a big deal over their "Secret Sauce" for the Big Mac--and it's just an inferior version of thousand island dressing.
Don't forget the bacon! And don't forget to check back with Paul after June 1. He's going to make the burgers and sample them! There are prizes involved here people! Don't you wish you had entered this? Well, tomorrow is the deadline. Start grilling!
Paul, you're going to have a lot of fun, eating all the burgers. Wish I was going to be there to help.
Bacon Cheeseburger With Thousand Island Dressing
- Good ground beef. I used organic with about 18 percent fat. Don't use beef that's too lean or you'll have a dry burger. I made each burger with around 6.5 ounces of beef per patty. So, the amount of beef you use will depend on the amount of burgers you make
- cheese. I used slices of very good sharp cheddar cheese
- applewood-smoked bacon, 2 to 3 slices per burger
- lettuce of your choice. I used Boston , but other leaf varieties are good, as is more bitter types like arugula.
- thinly sliced red onions
- sliced pickles, sweet or dill
- salt, and freshly ground black pepper
- poppy seed buns
Make the dressing and set aside. Cook the bacon until it's crisp and let it drain on paper towels.
Form your burger patties and season them with the salt and pepper. Don't work them too much. Cook them on your grill over high heat. I used charcoal and cooked mine for about 2 minutes on each side or until they felt ready when I used my finger to press each patty to see if it was ready to my liking. After I flipped the patty the first time, I put a slice of cheese on top of the burger, put the domed lid on the grill and cooked it for the final 2 minutes. Then I removed the patties to a plate. Butter the split buns and place them, buttered side down, on the grill. Cook until they are toasted. It will only take a very brief time, depending on how hot your grill is or where you place them on the grill--in an area where it's not so hot. Remove them immediately when they are toasted the way you like. Do not take your eye off them, if you do this. If you prefer, heat them in your oven.
Assemble your burger by spreading the dressing on the bottom bun, then add some lettuce or arugula, pickles (if you like), the beef patty, two or three slices of bacon, onions slices, (tomato slices would be nice here too), then top with the other half of the bun.
Thousand Island Dressing
(Cindy Pawlcyn, Big Small Plates)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
3 to 4 drops Tobasco
1 drop Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional)
Mix everything together and set aside.