If you have ever searched on Google for a Bacon Cheese Burger recipe then you know how many people claim to have THE “Perfect” or “Ultimate” Bacon Cheese Burger recipe… if you haven’t then let me tell you there are 100’s! Truth is, one person’s perfect burger is another’s, “Eh it’s alright” burger. So perhaps the better recipe title for this post should be; My Version of the “Perfect” Backyard Bacon Cheese Burger. But somehow, although more truthful, that title probably wouldn’t get many people clicking to check out my recipe.
So instead let me share with you WHY I think you will absolutely love this recipe (and why my kids beg my husband to pop these bad boys on the grill almost every weekend – rain or shine!).
The bigger the better?
Many folks claim their burger is the best based on size… ½ pound, double ¼ pounder, triple decker… you name it someone claims that bigger is better. For me, the best burger is 6.5 ounces, yep I weighed it! And when we make this recipe we use a little scale to measure our ground chuck for each and EVERY burger. Sounds a little tedious but trust me we have tried bigger, smaller and in-between and for whatever reason 6.5 ounces wins every time. It is just the right amount of meat, not too much but very satisfying (even for a big guy like my husband).
Surface area is king!
Another bone of contention among recipes is thickness. Some folks swear by a, “thick juicy burger” and promote a rare to med-rare cook for juiciness. NOT ME! I am note sure about you, but I have been to too many BBQ’s where a family member or family friend takes a store made burger out of the wrapper or packaging and throws it directly on the grill and then proceeds to “dump” way too much of some sort of commercial seasoning mixture on it only for it to come off the grill burnt and over seasoned on the outside and raw in the middle – I have even been to a couple parties where folks had to put their burger in the microwave just to be able to eat it! My friends this is not a “rare” burger as they (your family member or friend) might tell you… you can get sick from eating a raw in the middle burger! Truth is it is hard to properly cook a thick burger and get the right doneness and seasoning combination. For that reason (among others which I will explain in a minute) surface area is king NOT thickness. I want each and every bit of my burger to have just the right amount of seasoning, condiment, garnish and roll combination while being properly cooked throughout. You can’t get that with a thick burger… which is why I use parchment paper and flatten out my burgers before they hit the grill. This way they don’t shrink up to a “hockey puck” or an Eddie Murphy burger (the video on this link uses profanity and is not suitable for children!) or come out like raw, “call the ambulance I just ate raw meat” burger.
It is easy to make the ‘PERFECT” thickness for a burger using parchment paper… just follow these steps:
Weigh out 6.5 ounces of ground chuck or ground 80/20 beef.
Form a ball from the ground beef and place on parchment paper that you have cut into a long rectangle and folded into a square.
Press the ball of ground beef between the folded over parchment paper and form into a somewhat round shape.
Pound the beef between the parchment until desired thickness… be sure to spread the middle out so that there is not too much meat in the middle and it is evenly distributed.
Reform meat into a round shape… be sure the meat is consistent throughout the patty. You want the end result to be a 1/4 inch thickness or less.
You are now ready for your patty to go on the grill!
How to grill the “Perfect” burger:
For me, the only way to grill the perfect burger is on a charcoal grill… sure you can achieve some great results on a gas grill or indoors on a cast iron grill pan but there is nothing that can replace the smokey BBQ/ grill flavor of a charcoal grill. For me this is ALWAYS option #1… however on a rainy day when I have a hankering for a burger or the kids do I will use a cast iron grill pan.
For a step by step on How to Light a Charcoal Grill check out my husbands post (simply click the link to be redirected).
Once you have your grill properly lit and have it set up with a hot and safe zone follow the steps below:
Place the burgers on the hot side of the grill and sprinkle some of the salt and fresh cracked pepper mixture on the burger.
Once juices begin to form on the burger (after about 4 minutes) flip the burger and cook until the juices begin to run clear:
Then flip burgers to the safe zone and place 2 slices of cheese on each burger:
Once cheese has melted and is lightly browned like below remove from grill and let rest:
Condiments (Mamma’s Burger and Fries Sauce):
For anyone who has read my post about Mamma’s Burger and Fries Sauce you know that my husband will not touch ketchup as a standalone condiment. Yea, I know… weird right! Anyway, we developed this really tasty burger sauce that now I can’t have a burger without!!!! Check out the sauce and try it for yourself, you won’t be let down and may never put plain old ketchup on your burger again.
You have to have a good quality cheese on your burger… for me and my family it has to be a good quality American or cheddar, thick sliced.
I am a tomato, pickle, lettuce and red onion girl. I like to add thin slices of nice ripe tomato, a garlic pickle and Iceberg Lettuce with thinly sliced red onion.
So there you have it… my version of a “PERFECT” burger!
OMG, I almost forgot the most important part (don’t tell my husband – he HAS to have bacon on his burger or it isn’t a burger), the bacon. Be sure you buy thick cut Hickory Smoked bacon and not Maple Bacon… could ruin your whole burger. Also, I cook mine in the oven. Using a foil lined sheet pan with your oven pre-heated to 400 degrees place the bacon in a single layer on the pan like this:
Place sheet pan into oven and bake until your desired crispness – about 17 minutes for the way I like it. The results are fantastic and easier than cooking bacon in a pan and dealing with the spit and spatter from the grease:
SOOOO, much easier than cooking it up in the pan and it is nice and flat to fit easily on the burger. Once the bacon is cooked remove from the sheet pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
NOW, I think we are all set.
Hungry yet? I know I am.
Give this burger recipe a shot and tell me where it ranks on your scale of the perfect burger.
- A little bit over 2 LBS (32.5 ounces if you want to be exact) of 80/20 ground beef (preferably chuck).
- 2 TBL spoons Kosher salt
- 1 TBL spoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 Large ripe tomato (should be soft to the touch but slightly firm - not over ripe).
- A head of Iceberg lettuce (or your favorite variety if your not a big fan of Iceberg)
- 1 Medium size red onion
- Pickles of your choice sliced (I prefer a garlic style or kosher dill pickle as the sweet or bread & butter pickles add a different taste than what I prefer).
- 5 Large sesame buns
- About 5 TBL spoonsMamma's Burger and Fries Sauce
- 10 Slices thick cut hickory smoked bacon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a ¼ or ½ sheet pan with foil and place 10 pieces of bacon in one layer on sheet pan, place sheet pan in oven on middle rack for approximately 17 minutes or until desired crispness is achieved without burning, remove bacon from sheet pan and place on paper towel lined plate to drain, set aside.
- Using a scale divide the ground beef equally to form 5 equal 6.5 ounce balls (+ or - but try to be as close as possible), using parchment paper press each ball of ground beef until 1.4 inch thick and of consistent thickness, place pressed patties on a separate plate and set aside or wrap and put in fridge.
- If using a charcoal grill set up a chimney and light your coals (if using a cast iron grill pan or gas grill skip this step).
- While coals are lighting (if using a charcoal grill) prepare your condiments by washings the Iceberg lettuce in a colander and chopping into thin ribbons, wash the tomato and slice into thin slices, slice pickles into thin slices, slice red onion into think slices, place all condiments on a serving plate for folks to pick from to build their burger.
- If using a charcoal grill check the readiness of the coals and dump them into a hot zone/ safe zone configuration (check out my How to Light a Charcoal Grill for more information), if using a gas grill set grill light grill and set to high, close lid till ready to cook to heat up the grill grate till you are ready to cook (if using an indoor skillet skip this step).
- Prepare Mamma's Burger and Fries Sauce and set aside.
- If using a charcoal or gas grill wipe the grill grates with canola oil soaked paper towels using tongs and place burgers on hot side until juices appear (about 4 minutes), flip burgers till juices appear (about 4 minutes) and then move to safe side of grill. If using an indoor cast iron skillet follow the same directions but time will vary.
- Once burgers are on the safe side of the grill add 2 slices cheese to each burger and close lid for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. If using a skillet cover skillet with loose foil to melt cheese.
- Remove burgers to a plate and set aside to rest, using about half a tablespoon of Mamma's Burger and Fries Sauce coat each bun top and bottom, Place burger on bun and top with pickle, then tomato, then lettuce and cover with top of bun.
- Serve with some Homemade Fries and a pickle wedge, ENJOY!