Cook the Book: Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburgers

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

I've made plenty of tasty lamb and pork burgers, and even passable pub-style burgers but I've never achieved a perfect fast-food-style thin patty.

Spike Mendelsohn's Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburgers from The Good Stuff Cookbook possess all of the elements of my holy grail burger— thin patty, squishy potato bun, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, and a secret sauce. Oh, and bacon. Spike's concept throughout the book is to keep it simple. And I went into the kitchen with fingers crossed, hoping that not over-thinking it would lead better burgers.

Spike adds a few extra steps to his burger-making process that seem superfluous but really do make a difference. All of the burgers at Good Stuff Eatery are served on buttered toasted buns, and once they are assembled they are wrapped in a piece of wax paper and left to rest for a few minutes. This way the patties have a chance to rest and the flavors of all of the other burger components really come together in a way that they would if they were served in a burger joint, where they have a chance to sit in their wrapping for a few minutes.

So, the question remains, how were the burgers? Pretty fantastic, and by far the best that have come out of my kitchen. The patties were just the super juicy, and just the right size and and the fact that they are cooked in a little bacon grease didn't hurt at all.

The Good Stuff Sauce reminded my burger-eating companion of the secret sauce at In-N-Out—it was the only condiment these burgers needed. But best of all these burgers proved that with the right technique and ingredients I could indeed make a pretty good approximation of my dream burger at home.

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Cook the Book: Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburgers

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About This Recipe

Yield:6

Ingredients

  • 30 ounces ground sirloin
  • 6 potato buns, cut in half
  • Canola oil
  • 1 pound applewood-smoked bacon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices American cheese
  • 6 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 6 ruby red tomato slices
  • 6 red onion slices
  • 12 pickle slices
  • About 1 cup Good Stuff Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups Homemade Basic Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups grapeseed oil

Procedures

  1. 1

    To make the patties, roll six 5-ounce sirloin balls, and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate. Line a plate with paper towels.

  2. 2

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add just enough oil to cover the entire bottom. When the oil begins to smoke, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels. Drain off the fat from the skillet but do not wipe clean.

  3. 3

    Reduce the heat to medium and place the patties into the same skillet. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Place 3 strips of bacon and 1 slice of the cheese on each patty and continue to cook 2 minutes more for medium-rare doneness. Cover with a lid for the last 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

  4. 4

    Toast the buns. Set aside.

  5. 5

  6. 6

    Good Stuff Sauce

  7. 7

    - makes about 2 cups-

  8. 8

    Add the mayonnaise, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, and salt to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  9. 9

    Homemade Basic Mayonnaise

  10. 10

    - makes about 2 cups-

  11. 11

    Add the eggs, mustard, vinegar, and salt to a food processor or blender. Process for 30 seconds in the food processor, or for 10 seconds in the blender. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly at first, then add in a thin, steady stream until all the oil is added and the mixture is smooth. Stop the motor and taste. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little hot water. If too thin, process a little longer. The mayonnaise can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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