Bacon & Bleu Burger
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Today marks the first official day of summer and grilling season is now in full swing. For the next few months, I will be going back to my “Mixed Grill” roots and featuring not only grilling recipes, but also outdoor friendly recipes too. My inspiration for this week’s recipe also served as inspiration for a fellow columnist last month.

When I first saw the commercial for bacon hot dogs, I almost thought it was a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, but it turned out to be a real concept. So real in fact, that columnist Gale Hammond was also inspired to mention it in one of her articles last month. I am not one for hot dogs and the idea of bacon hot dogs seem even less appealing to me.  However, I do like a good hamburger and the same idea could be explored and applied.

Bacon and burgers isn’t anything new, but bacon mixed into the burger is something quite different. I experimented with three methods for making the bacon into smaller pieces to mix into the hamburger: meat grinder, food processor and hand minced. The meat grinder and food processor made the bacon too fine and it was almost lost when mixed into the hamburger. The best choice was to hand mince the bacon because the pieces are small enough to distribute the flavor, but large enough for a better texture.

With the burger patty perfected, it was time to finish it, step up its game and go gourmet. When choosing cheese for the bacon burger, I selected bleu cheese, which is bold enough to stand up to the intense flavor of the bacon. Because I know there are many individuals who hate bleu cheese, I also suggest an extra sharp white cheddar or full flavored Swiss style. For the bread, I encourage using a specialty bun or a bakery style roll. When it comes to condiments on this style of burger, I like to keep it simple with mayonnaise, a baby lettuce blend and slice of tomato, but mustard and catsup are acceptable too.

Bacon & Bleu Burger

Serves four


• 1 pound ground beef (fat content 10 to 20 percent)

• 1/2 pound raw thick cut bacon

• Salt & pepper to taste

• 6 ounces bleu cheese

• Optional condiments: Mayonnaise, mustard, catsup, tomato and lettuce

Step 1: Cook the bacon through, but not crisp. Cook in a skillet about four minutes per side. Cook in an oven on top of a cooling rack set into a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes with the oven temperature set at 350 degrees F. Mince the bacon by cutting in half and place the bacon on top of each other. Slice the bacon lengthwise into strips; continue the opposite direction to form a coarse dice.

Step 2: Mix the hamburger and bacon in a large bowl until the bacon is well distributed, but do not over work. Divide the mixture into four even portions and form into patties to fit the buns or rolls. Salt and pepper both sides of the patties.

Step 3: Place the bacon burger patties over a hot, cleaned and oiled grill. Cook the patties four minutes. Flip the patties and add the blue cheese. Close the grill lid to melt the cheese and continue to cook an additional four minutes. Move the bacon burger patties from the grill to a warm platter. You may also choose to toast the buns or rolls over the open fire one minute before the patties are removed.

Step 4: Dress the roll or bun with your favorite condiments and add the cooked bacon burger.

Mitch L. Mariani II is a self-taught amateur chef.  Questions, comments and suggestions can be directed to him through e-mail at [email protected].

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