Simply Crushing National Burger Day*
*As in, this was super simple, not so much that I crushed it easily. Even though I did.
I want to start off by first saying that I didn't even know there was such a thing as National Burger Day when I decided to make these. I just happened to be house-sitting for some friends last weekend and wanted to take full advantage of their backyard grill. (My Hollywood apartment doesn't have a backyard and I miss being able to cook most of my meals outdoors.)
So. This is a bacon cheeseburger. Big deal right? Well you know what, it is a big deal. Because this is the best bacon cheeseburger I've ever eaten. And I've eaten A LOT of burgers in my day! I used to run a burger restaurant. I pretty much ate a burger a day for 2 years straight. Wait, did I just write the copy for my own tombstone?
"Here lies Jered Standing: He "pretty much ate a burger a day for 2 years straight". Now he's a dead person. And everything makes sense again"
But! While I'm still alive! I'm going to tell you the few simple tweaks I did this time that I've never done before, and that I think will help you instantly 10X your current burger game.
Something I HAVE always done, that you can do immediately to make your homemade burgers taste a whole lot better is start with grass fed, dry aged beef. This will, with no extra effort on your part, multiply the complexity and richness of the meat itself many times. And you don't need to go crazy with the fat content. 15-20% is good. Season with just salt. This recipe calls for 1/2 pound patties.
Additional note: I'm not particular about bread or spread here. I used Brioche and Mayo, but you can use whatever you like.
Now for the pro-tips:
- Onion Prep: Thinly slice your onions 1 or 2 hours ahead of time, then salt them to draw out excess moisture. I just left them in a bowl for a couple hours then patted them dry when it was time to cook. This is a tip I learned from Jess Pryles's Oklahoma Onion Burger post. Thanks Jess!
- Flour: Lightly flour the onions before frying them. This gets them super crispy, super fast.
- Bacon: Thick sliced. I used one and a half slices on each 1/2 pound patty.
- SHARP Cheddar: Sharpest you can get. And leave it out on the counter for awhile. Room temp cheese will melt better than if it's cold to start.
Order of Operations:
- Cook the bacon first. Set aside. DO NOT discard grease.
- Start cooking your burger patties.
- While the burgers are cooking, add a couple tablespoons of butter to the pan with the hot bacon grease. (I know, I know... Butter?! In bacon grease??! I already told you I'm probably going to die a burgery death.)
- Then fry those lightly floured onions in that butter-grease. Move them around a lot, they won't take long to get nice and crispy.
- Now when you're ready to flip your burger (timing for this depends on your desired doneness) flip it and top it with the bacon first, then the onions, and put the cheese ON TOP of all that. I've been putting cheese on the patty, then topping it with everything else my whole life, and this has been the biggest game changer. When that cheese melts down into the onions, creating a cheesy crispy, melty blanket on top of the bacon, it's ok for you to cry a little. It's unbearably beautiful.
After all that I added a thick slice of tomato when it was time to build the burger. It was the perfect addition. Plus I've been told you're supposed to eat vegetables sometimes.
... that I don't have any good pictures of the process to include in this post. I had no idea when I started this that they were going to be so good that I'd want to share my experience with everyone! I tried to screenshot the associated Instagram story, but the quality was really bad.
Follow me on Instagram for any other real-time amazingness that I forget to document in a more permanent way. @jeredstanding And sign up on this page for my email newsletter! I'm going to start posting more frequently and I wouldn't want you to miss anything!