Happy Memorial Day weekend, American friends. And happy Saturday to us all. This was going to be a Friday post, but a bacon weave demands time and space. (For the record, I would have loved to use the term bacon lattice, but not enough people search for that term. – Notes from Behind the Cast Iron Blogging Curtain) At any rate, as you’ve probably noticed by now, I don’t often talk a lot about food in these recipe posts until we get to the end. But today is different. I want to share a few burger hacks with you. And a bacon hack, too. Which really doesn’t leave room for anything else. So here we go.
How to Shape the Perfect Patty
It’s all about the divot. After forming a disc-shaped patty about the size of your palm, use your thumb to press a big, deep divot into the middle of the patty. The depression will disappear as the burger cooks, yielding a flat rather than bulging burger that cooks evenly. Takes five seconds. Works like a dream.
How to Make a Bacon Weave (and Why)
Bacon on a burger is always a good idea — and don’t let me stop you from rolling with whatever method you like. But if you’ve ever wished for bacon that covers your burger perfectly and doesn’t fall out of the bun, may I present the bacon weave (a.k.a. bacon lattice — just sayin.) If you’ve ever done a construction paper project weaving strips of different colors together, you’ve basically made a less delicious bacon weave. If you’ve ever made a lattice pie crust, we can debate the deliciousness of savory versus sweet another time. Either way, you already have the skills you need.
There are details in the recipe below, but all you need is eight strips of good bacon and an understanding of how to alternate. Over, under, over, under. The rest is magic.
How to Make Quick Caramelized Onions
Normally caramelized onions are all about low and slow. But when you’ve got burgers resting, bacon grease, and, frankly, teeth, you don’t need an hour to get satisfying results. A very hot cast iron pan primed with a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat, attentive stirring, and a splash of dry marsala in the last couple of minutes, will get you gorgeous, mahogany, soft but not too soft onions in a little over five minutes, which is perfect burger resting time. Details in the recipe below.
Okay, I was serious. Only food talk today. Have a great weekend. Talk to you soon.
Bacon Weave Blue Cheese Burgers
These flavorful burgers are classy but not too classy. 🙂 Grill them or cook in a blazing-hot cast-iron pan. You can make the bacon and onions ahead of time if you like and reheat for a few seconds in the microwave or in a pan on the grill right before serving. (Recipe contains affiliate links.)
- 8 slices good bacon
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 85% lean grass-fed beef)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 1/2 cup dry marsala
- 4 hamburger buns (I used brioche)
- Baby spinach leaves
- 4 ounces creamy blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola Dolce
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a half sheet pan with foil. To make the bacon weave, start by laying four bacon slices next to each other, long sides touching, in the middle of the pan. Then, one by one starting at the top, lay each of the remaining pieces crosswise. Weave the first piece over, under, over, under the original slices. Weave the second piece under, over, under, over, etc. (If you learned a different weaving method in elementary school, go for it.) Bake bacon until done to your liking -- 15 minutes plus depending on the thickness of the cut. Drain on paper towels, reserving the grease in the pan. When cooled enough, cut weave into four squares.
Meanwhile, form four burger patties from the ground beef. Use your thumb to create a nice big divot in the middle of each patty to ensure even cooking. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper immediately before cooking. You can grill the burgers or cook in a cast-iron pan with a couple tablespoons of the bacon grease. To grill, prepare a hot side and a cooler side of the grill with a little oil on the grates. Start burgers over direct heat, flipping once, to form a nice crust on both sides. This should take about three minutes per side. Transfer burgers to indirect heat to cook through to your liking (125°F for medium-rare, 130°F for medium on an instant-read thermometer). For cast iron, preheat a 12-inch cast iron pan over high heat until very hot. Pour in two tablespoons of bacon grease, then set burgers into pan. Cook on high heat to form a crust on both sides, flipping once, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking according to internal temperature instructions above. Let burgers rest for at least 5 minutes before continuing.
While burgers rest, add another two tablespoons of bacon grease into the hot pan, pile in the onions and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and wilted. Add marsala and cook until evaporated.
To assemble the burgers, toast the buns for a minute or two if you like, then layer on some spinach leaves, a burger patty, bacon, onions, and some crumbled blue cheese.
Techniques adapted from Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats.