Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Burgers

These burgers are the ultimate in decadence. Smokey bacon is mixed into burger meat, stuffed with cheese, and grilled to a medium-rare char. I served these at a party one time and they were a huge hit. They're great for parties--you can make them ahead of time and grill them up as your guests arrive. And even if you've got folks who like their meat well-done, the cheese in the center guarantees they'll still have a somewhat juicy burger.

Start with a pound of ground beef in a glass or metal bowl. For burgers I usually use ground beef that's 80/20 (that is, 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat). It's cheaper and the fat helps flavor the meat. Today I'm using 85/15; it was on sale and the bacon will make up for that 5% difference.

This is half an onion ;)
For this next step, you'll want to get out your trusty food processor. Some days I wish I had a big, fancy food processor--and then I look at my small kitchen and think otherwise. This little guy has served me well for the past three years, and it's the perfect size for our two-adult-one-child family.

Toss in a quarter of an onion that you've roughly chopped. Add a clove of garlic. Give them a couple whirls in the processor. You want them to have a little head's up on the chopping; I don't know many people who like large chunks of onions or garlic in things.

Look how happy they look together.

Make those onions even happier by adding two thick slices of bacon. What I'm using here is bacon ends I bought from our local meat market.

On a related note, I'm not sure if I want to see Steve's Bacon Fronts.

The ends are perfect for things like this--there's really no need to use center cut bacon, and since we'll be grinding it up it's not a big deal if it's evenly sized. Plus the bacon ends taste the same but are cheaper.

Of course, slices of bacon are easier to measure.

Chop the bacon, onion, and garlic in the processor until they're very finely minced--the bacon will be paste-like. For this, the finer the better, because that will help it get evenly distributed in the ground beef. Both the bacon and the onion will help keep the burger moist, and both also add tons of flavor.

Combine the bacon and onion mixture with the ground beef. Add salt and lots of pepper. At this point, I also add a drizzle of olive oil and about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Mix everything together gently. The point here is to combine all your ingredients but not overwork the meat.

Once your burger mix is finished, it's time to add the cheese. Wash your hands thoroughly and track down some cheese. You can use any kind here--blue, brie, cheddar, mozzarella, Muenster, fontina, Co-Jack, etc. Anything that will melt nicely and that you wouldn't mind eating a chunk of will do.

Usually I use the pr-esliced cheese you can buy for sandwiches and fold it into fourths. Today I'm shredded cheese  because that's what we had. When I use the slices, I use a whole slice of cheese per burger.

I would recommend going the slice (or chunk) route. Shredded is horribly difficult to work with and you end up with a less satisfying cheese-filled center.

Divide your hamburger mixture into fourths. Take one burger's worth of meat and gently shape it into a ball with a well in the center. Take your cheese and place it in the well. Cover the well and shape the ball into a patty slightly larger than the buns you'll be using. Make sure there's no cheese sticking out and try to get rid of any cracks in the burger. Salt and pepper both sides. Allow the patties to rest.

Go preheat your grill to medium and come back.

While your grill is preheating, it's time to toast the buns. Lightly butter the cut sides of your buns and toast on the stovetop or on a griddle.

When they're golden brown, take them off and they're ready for some bacon-y goodness.

Can you believe those pasty white buns turned into these? And they say tanning is bad for you.

Grill your burgers for 4-5 minutes per side until done. If they start oozing cheese, move to more indirect heat. Watch out, the fat from the bacon can cause flare-ups, so make sure you have tongs or a spatula long enough or you'll be missing some arm hair tomorrow. My husband, the resident griller, brings a timer out to the grill with him. It is a little hard to maintain a sense of time standing over a hot grill by yourself.

Or you can just stand there freaking out as your dinner catches on fire.

Let the burgers rest for a few minutes after taking them off the grill. If you dig in now (and I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't wait!), the juices will bleed all over, your nicely toasted buns will disintegrate, and your cheese will ooze out.

Spread the buns with your toppings of choice (homemade mayonnaise and refrigerator pickles, anyone?) and tell your heart you'll eat healthier tomorrow. Life's too short to not eat these burgers!

Psst...that little tail sticking out of my burger is a chunk of bacon. Don't tell me that wouldn't be the first thing you'd nibble off.

Recipe: Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Burgers
1 lb. ground beef
2 thick slices of bacon
1/4 of an onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. your favorite kind of cheese

Chop bacon, onion, and garlic in a food processor until pastelike mixture forms. Combine with ground beef. Add Worcestershire, olive oil, paprika, and salt and pepper.

Stuff hamburger mixture with 1 oz. of cheese and then form into patty.

Grill burgers over medium heat for 4-5 minutes a side. Allow to rest before eating.


  1. I made these (more of a cheater way) with dried onion and bacon bits. I don't recommend doing the bacon bits!! Real bacon would be much better!! I used the sliced cheese and it was wonderful!!

  2. lol, yeah, I don't recommend bacon bits for much more than salad. How did they turn out with the dried onion? The onion and bacon are both there to add moisture, so I'm curious!

    The sliced cheese is definitely way easier to use. I was fighting with that stupid shredded cheese!

  3. PS I'm glad you tried a recipe! I'd love to hear if you try any more! :)

  4. They were still pretty moist! I didn't follow it exactly so I may have added more worcestershire to get it that way.