Saturday, January 20, 2018

Smoky Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Burger

[FTC Disclaimer]  We are proud to be sponsored by Certifed Angus Beef® Brand; however, this is not a sponsored post.

This was the best burger I have made so far this year - the Smoky Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Burger.  It might be early in 2018, but this burger sets the bar quite high.

I may have cooked this mouth-watering burger in 2018, it started back in 2017.  This burger is loaded with home-cured bacon and white Vermont cheddar that I smoked at the end of the year.

I cold smoke batches of cheese every Winter. This year I had a thing for white cheddars but also did some gouda. I use the soldering iron/can method for a cold smoke generator in one of our kamado grills.  I take a new (no lead) pen style soldering iron without a tip in it and stick it into a Smoke Tube (or can with holes in it) filled with wood pellets.  Then just smoke the cheese for 90 minutes while keeping the temperature below 60°f.  

Once smoked, I vacuum seal the blocks of cheese and let them age for 2 weeks.  This enables the smoke to mellow out and balance throughout the block.  The one I used for these burgers was a 3 year aged Vermont cheddar.

I also started the sorghum-bourbon bacon curing in 2017.  I used Chris Lilly's Pepper Maple Bacon recipe from his book Fire and Smoke - A Pitmaster's Secrets (Amazon affiliate link).  I substitute sorghum for maple syrup, and I add 1 tablespoon to 1 ounce of bourbon.  I shrink wrapped the two halves and let them age for a week.

I thin sliced several small yellow onions, season them with a pinch or two of salt and let them slowly render for an eternity in a skillet with a little oil over medium-low heat.

You can caramelize onions more quickly, but I like to let mine go for 45 minutes to concentrate their flavor and build the sweetness.  Taste for seasoning at the end and add fine salt, white pepper, and sugar as needed.  You shouldn't need the sugar, but you might if the onions weren't the freshest.

It was our first snow day of the year and shivering cold outside.  So I used my 17" griddle (Amazon affiliate link) to cook the bacon while I preheated the kamado grill.

This was a very meaty pork belly so the bacon from it was phenomenal.

Alexis bought us The C.A.B. All American burgers from Schweid and Sons featuring Certified Angus Beef® Brand chuck.  Our local Food City has been carrying these and The One Percenter (same thing except uses Prime beef).  These are the pre-formed burger patties that I buy when I don't feel like making my own and they have never let me down.

I tried something new, on this burger - Jess Pryles Hardcore Carnivore Amplify.  It's an MSG-free flavor enhancer.  I seasoned half of the burgers with just NMT Beef Rub v.2 and the other half with NMT Beef Rub v.2 mixed 2:1 with the Amplify.  You could tell a difference between the flavor of the burgers.

Then I pan seared the burgers in a cast iron skillet over red-hot lump charcoals for 4 minutes a side.  I added the cheese and covered the skilled with 2 minutes to go on the second side.

The sweetness of the onions balances the smoky saltiness of the bacon and the sharpness of the cheddar for a fantastic burger.

For other burger ideas, check out the recipe section of Certified Angus Beef® Brand's website and join the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Kitchen on Facebook.