Hot and Smoky Cheeseburgers With Bacon and Pickled Cherry Pepper Relish

Hot and Smoky Cheeseburgers With Bacon and Pickled Cherry Pepper Relish
  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes
  • Rated: 5.0

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

An homage to the Smoke Stack burger from Shake Shack, this big, fat, grilled burger gets topped with American cheese, crisp bacon, grilled onions, and a spicy and tangy bacon and pickled cherry pepper relish.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pickled cherry peppers, seeds and stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 20 ounces freshly ground beef, divided into four 5-ounce patties
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thick slices yellow or white onion
  • 4 slices American or cheddar cheese
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce and pickles (if desired)
  • 4 toasted hamburger buns

Directions

  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange half of bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in oven until crisp and well browned, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, place cherry peppers in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 short pulses. Cut remaining half of bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat bacon in a 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add sugar and chopped cherry peppers and their juices. Cook until juices are mostly evaporated and pepper-bacon mixture has a chunky, relish-like texture, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  3. 3.

    When ready to serve, season burger patties generously with salt and pepper and cook burgers to desired doneness on a hot grill or in a skillet on the stovetop, 125°F for medium rare or 135°F for medium, topping with cheese for last minute of cooking. Let burger patties rest for 5 minutes off heat. While burgers are resting, season onions with salt and pepper and cook on hot grill or in a lightly oiled skillet until tender and well browned on both sides.

  4. 4.

    Place shredded lettuce on bottom buns and top with burger patties. Top with bacon-cherry pepper relish, cooked onion slices, and bacon. Close burgers and serve immediately.