Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

Summer is coming! I can feel it! And for me, summer means one thing: GRILLING!

There is no more classic grilled food, in my humble opinion, than the good old beef burger. This one will seriously tingle your taste buds, because it puts all the good stuff INSIDE the burger, instead of piled on top.

Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

You’ll want to start by dicing 1/4 of a medium sweet onion (very small dice!) and cooking up 4 slices of bacon. Once the bacon is cooked and cooled, break it into small pieces.

Then, in a medium bowl, add a little over a pound of ground beef. (Generally, I see them in the store packed in 1.25-1.40 pound packages.) Personally, I like to use 93% lean beef. It’s a bit more expensive, but the burgers don’t shrink as much! If you use 85% or 73%, just bear in mind that there will be a fair bit of shrinkage to your patties once they start cooking!

To the ground beef, add your cooked bacon pieces, the diced onion, 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce, and hefty sprinklings of the following: salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, and if you’ve got it, your favorite dry steak seasoning. (I use Montreal Style Steak, which is made by McCormick.) If you’d like a little heat, sprinkle in either some chili powder or some cayenne.

Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

Combine it all together with your hands. DON’T OVERWORK THE MEAT. Work it until everything is well distributed, and then stop! If you work it too much, the burgers will be tough – no bueno! Once it’s well combined, make it into four patties. They’ll be pretty big – that’s okay! Remember they will shrink!

Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

To prep your grill, spray with with cooking spray and turn the heat to medium high. (Or equivalent process for a charcoal grill. Mine is gas – I know, I cheat!) Let it warm up for a few minutes, then put the burgers on! They should sizzle when they hit the grates. Cook to your desired level of done-ness, flipping halfway through. I like my burger pink inside because it’s super tender and juicy that way, so that should be about 5 minutes per side for burgers of this size. If desired, after you’ve flipped them and they are almost done, top with mozzarella cheese! Serve them on a toasted bun with whatever condiments you prefer. I LOVE barbecue sauce on my burgers. If you’ve never tried it, you should. It’s especially good with these!

Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

I made a salad ahead of time to serve with the burgers – the freshness of the veggies in the salad is a great compliment to the savory burgers! (Plus it’s far better for you than a side of fries or chips!) Full Recipe:

Teriyaki Bacon Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 sweet onion, small dice
1 & 1/3 (ish) pounds lean ground beef
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
To taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, steak seasoning, cayenne (optional)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (if desired)

4 hamburger buns, plus condiments, for serving.

Process:

1) In medium bowl, combine ground beef with cooked bacon, diced onion, teriyaki sauce, and spices. Work with your hands until just combined. DO NOT OVERWORK MEAT.

2) Form into four equal size patties.

3) Spray grill with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Place burgers directly on grates and let cook for 4-5 minutes per side (medium), or until desired temperature is reached.

4) When only a minute or so of cooking time remains, top with mozzarella cheese, allow to melt, and then serve burgers as desired. (Try them with barbecue sauce!)

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Grilled Cheese BLT with Warm Apple Salad

So the classic sandwich of winter is the Grilled Cheese, and the classic sandwich of summer is the BLT. It’s now March, and spring is at least trying to get here, so BAM, here’s a hybrid of the two that is a sandwich that is sure to impress!

I’ve also included a great side to go with it, and it is ALL done in ONE pan. (Always makes it better!)

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Of course, the best part is the bacon – at least for me – so start by cutting two pieces of bacon in half and frying them up until they’re crispy. Place them on a paper towel to drain while you cook the rest of the sandwich.

Now, sandwich making is an art. (Women-in-the-kitchen jokes aside.) There’s a certain way that is optimal for layering and ensuring every bite is the same, so pay close attention!

Slice two pieces of Italian bread and butter one side of each. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme on both.

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I used fresh thyme because I happened to have some on hand, but dried would do fine as well!

Next, add a few slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese and then your reserved bacon slices.

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My favorite brand of cheddar is Cabot – it’s super sharp and tastes fabulous!!

Next comes the lettuce. Any kind will do, but I feel like this sandwich is classy enough for spring greens:

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Then comes tomato slices and julienned onion:

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And finally, top with some more cheese before capping the sandwich with the other piece of bread. Make sure the buttered side is INSIDE the sandwich on both slices!

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The cheese goes on the outside so that it melts and creates a “glue” that holds the sandwich together. The tomatoes and lettuce are in the middle to keep them farther from the heat, and the lettuce goes between the tomatoes and bacon to ensure the wetness of the tomatoes doesn’t make the bacon soggy!

Now here comes the awesome part… put the heat back on the pan that still has your bacon fat in it, on medium-low, and then carefully place your sandwich right into the bacon fat. Let it cook for just a minute or two, enough to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese, and then turn it over and do the same to the other side.

Remove it from the pan and plate it along with some more spring greens, then turn the heat in the pan up to medium-high and add 1/2 an apple (sliced) along with some julienned onion and pepper. Squeeze in some lemon juice, sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper, and toss to coat.

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The goal is to brown the apples, onions, and peppers quickly so that they still retain some of their crunch. Once they’ve cooked for a minute or two, plate them on top of the spring greens and enjoy your fabulous spring dish!

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I’m still a little kid inside and like to have my sandwiches cut in half… but it also does a great job of showing the layers inside and how delicious this thing really is!

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Full Recipe:

Grilled Cheese BLT

Yield: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

2 slices Italian bread
Butter/salt/pepper/thyme (to taste)
4-6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices of bacon
3 slices of fresh tomato
1 thin slice of an onion, broken apart
A small handful of spring greens

Process:

1) Cut the two slices of bacon in half and cook them in a frying pan until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.

2) Butter one side of each of the 2 slices of Italian bread and add salt, pepper, and thyme to the buttered sides.

3) Place one slice of bread, buttered side up, on your work surface and then layer the ingredients as follows: half the cheese slices, the bacon pieces, the spring greens, the tomato, the onion, and finally the other half of the cheese slices, before capping with the other half of the bread (buttered side down).

4) Put a medium-low heat under the same pan that you cooked the bacon in and carefully place the sandwich directly in the bacon fat. Allow to cook for just a minute or two, until browned, and then flip and cook for an additional minute. Serve immediately.

*Super Bowl Week* Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

Burgers are one of the best “having people over for a casual get-together” foods, but let’s face it, on Game Day, people want a little of everything, and a big burger is just too much with everything else you have to eat!

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That’s where sliders come in – little miniature burgers, PACKED with flavor, but not too heavy to eat! These sliders really deliver on flavor and they pack a little heat, too, so they are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

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Start off by cooking 6 pieces of bacon (crispy) in a large skillet. (Cook more if you can’t resist the temptation to eat some!) A few minutes per side on a medium low heat should be enough. Set these aside on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.

In a mixing bowl, put 1 pound of ground beef and add to it 1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano, and a 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Use your hands to combine this all together and then form the meat into 12 patties, about 3 inches wide.

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MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Don’t over-knead the meat! Get it just combined so all the spices are evenly distributed, and then STOP! Over-working the beef causes it to be tough, and nobody likes a tough burger! Use your palms to lightly squeeze each ball of meat so it becomes a flat patty – no extra pressure is needed!

Heat up the same pan you used for the bacon (don’t wipe out the grease!) over a medium heat and add the burger patties to it. It’s important that you don’t overcrowd the pan, so if they don’t all fit with an inch of space between them, do it in two batches. Cook on one side for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. (This much time should mean they are medium well to well-done.)

Cooking burgers

Just before they have finished cooking, add a slice of pepper jack cheese to each one. (If you buy the single-serving sliced kind, one of those slices should divide nicely into 4 squares that fit perfectly on these burgers.)

If you want raw onion on your sliders (I personally can’t imagine a burger without onion!) then while the burgers are cooking you can cut up about half a large onion. (Cut the half into quarters and then slice up each quarter.) You can also prep the buns by taking 3 large kaiser rolls and cutting them into quarters. Open up each mini-bun and add the onion (if desired) to each one and top with a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce. Put a burger on top of each, and then break each slice of bacon into quarters and put two pieces on each burger.

Bacon

Put the caps on each burger, put them on a serving dish, and you’re done!

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You might find yourself making these a lot more than just when you’re entertaining!

Full Recipe:

Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

Yield: 12 sliders

Ingredients:

6 pieces bacon
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 slices pre-packaged pepper jack cheese
3 large Kaiser rolls, cut into quarters
1/2 large onion, cut into quarters and sliced
Barbecue sauce, for topping

Process:

1) In a large skillet over medium low heat, cook bacon for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel.

2) Combine beef, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne together in a mixing bowl. Form the beef into 12 (three inch) patties.

3) In the same pan that you cooked the bacon, over medium heat, cook the 12 patties for 3-4 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the second side. If they don’t all fit comfortably in the pan, do 2 batches.

4) Add 1/4 of a slice of pepper jack cheese to each burger just before they are finished cooking, and then remove from heat.

5) Open each mini bun and top with onion, barbecue sauce, and then each burger.

6) Break each slice of bacon into quarters and then place 2 pieces onto each burger.

7) Cap the burgers and serve immediately.