Saturday, April 4, 2015

Grilled Burger with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Red Onion

I'm firing up my grill on an almost nightly basis. I find it simply astounding that charcoal and mesquite can add so much flavor to food. Last night I made grilled lobster: Tonight I'm all in for steak with lone star rub:

I was shopping at Costco on Thursday and I picked up some gorgeous beef chuck roasts for just $3.99 a pound. I use these chuck roasts to make my own ground beef. I just use my food processor to coarsely grind the meat. Making ground beef this way has two enormous advantages.

The first big advantage is flavor. Chuck roasts have a higher fat content than store-bought ground beef and fat equals flavor. The second advantage is hygiene and handling. Store-bought ground beef is made up of various body parts from multiple animals. That's why the label says you have to cook it to 165º to kill all the bad stuff.

But the chuck roast I just bought is intact and from a single animal. And because I am handling the grinding myself, there's no bad stuff being added. Therefore, it is safe to cook this meat to medium rare. That 35º difference between 165º and 135º makes for a much juicier burger. This recipe is from Jamie Purveyance and serves four.

4 slices bacon
1½ pounds ground chuck
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium red onion, cut crosswise into 4 slices, each about ⅓-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 hamburger buns, split
Dijon mustard
4 leaves Boston lettuce
4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500°F).
  3. In a large bowl mix the ground chuck, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then gently form four patties of equal size, each about ¾ inch thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook. Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.
  4. Brush the cooking grates clean. Brush the onion slices on both sides with oil, and then grill over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until charred and caramelized on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once or twice. At the same time, grill the patties over direct medium-high heat until cooked  (about 6 minutes), turning once. During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, toast the rolls, cut side down, over direct heat.
  5. To assemble the burgers, spread the tops and bottoms of the rolls lightly with mustard and then top each with lettuce, cheese, a patty, a strip of bacon, and an onion slice. Serve warm.

Pairing: Wine drinkers should opt for a nice, Oregon Pinot Noir. That wine is extraordinary when paired with the bacon, beef and cheese. But, all things considered, it's hard to say no to an ice cold pilsner beer with any grilled burger.

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