Gallery: The Burger Lab: How To Make The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

  • The Bacon Cheeseburger

    bacon cheeseburger

    Beef patty cooked in bacon fat, topped with cheese and onions caramelized in bacon fat, a bacon weave, and a sauce made with bacon fat, all served on a bun toasted in bacon fat. It's a lot of bacon, but it's not overpowering. Here's how I make it.

    Step 1: Lay out half the bacon.

    bacon on baking sheet

    Six slices, side by side on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

    Step 2: Start weavin'!

    weaving together bacon

    Fold up every other slice of bacon in half, then lay another slice horizontally at the bottom of the fold. Re-open the folded bacon so it's not lying on top of the new bacon slice, then fold up the *other* bacon slices.

    Step 3: Keep weaving!

    weaving together bacon

    Lay another strip of bacon across the bottom of the newly folded slices. Fold them back down and fold up the other three again.

    Step 4: More weaving.

    weaving together bacon

    Lay out the bottom strip of bacon under the new fold. Unfold the bacon again, the repeat on the top half, this time folding the slices down instead of up.

    Step 5: Weave complete.

    weaving together bacon

    The completed weave, ready for the oven. Put it in a preheated 400°F oven and cook it until it's crisp. It'll take about 25 minutes. Don't let it burn!

    Oh, and if you've got a big-ass cast iron skillet, throw it in the oven too!

    Step 6: Form the patties.

    forming beef patties

    For four 6-ounce beef patties with freshly ground beef. You want the patties to be a little wider than your buns. Push a small indentation into the center of the patty like this so that as the edges of the patty shrink while they cook, the patty will remain relatively fat instead of turning into a gold ball.

    Step 7: Season generously.

    seasoned beef patties

    Season up those patties with a ton of salt and pepper on the exterior.

    Step 8: Bacon is cooked!

    bacon weaved together

    Pull your bacon out of the oven when it's done.

    Step 9: Drain the weave.

    bacon weaved together

    Transfer the weave to a paper towel-lined plate to drain a bit. Set aside.

    Step 10: Save that fat!

    bacon fat in bowl

    Don't lose that bacon fat! It's got delicious flavor and is great for cooking with. We're going to use it four more ways before the burgers are done.

    Step 11: Brush the buns.

    brushing burger buns with bacon fat

    Take the foil off the tray you cooked the bacon on, then put your burger buns on it. Brush them with hot bacon fat and set them aside for a minute.

    Step 12: Make the sauce.

    special burger sauce

    I make a "special sauce" type spread for my burgers with a mix of mayo, a bit of ketchup, a bit of mustard, and sweet pickle relish. To this, I stir in a few tablespoons of liquid bacon fat.

    Step 13: Sear the burgers.

    searing beef patties

    Add the remaining bacon fat to that pre-heated cast iron skillet and place it on a burner over high heat. Add the burgers and cook them, turning occasionally. (Yes, you can flip them multiple times—as many as you can without letting them fall apart. It will help them cook faster and more evenly as well as develop a nice brown crust).

    Step 14: Keep cooking!

    cooked burgers in cast iron skillet

    The burgers may look a little pale for the fist few flips, but keep going and that crust will develop before long.

    Step 15: Temp it!

    taking temperature of beef patties

    The best way to make sure your burger is cooked properly is to take its temperatures! I aim for 110°F before I add my cheese, which gives it time to come up to around 125°F by the tim the cheese is melted. That's a nice medium rare after resting.

    Step 16: Cheese it!

    adding cheese to burger patties

    Add the sliced cheese and let it melt in the skillet.

    Step 17: Rest the burgers.

    cheeseburgers

    Transfer the burgers to a paper towel-lined plate to rest for a few minutes. This will help it retain juices when you eat it.

    Step 18: It's onion time!

    cooking onions in cast iron skillet

    Add a thing-sliced onion to all that bacon and beef fat in the skillet, season them with salt and pepper, and cook them, stirring every once in a while.

    Step 19: Toast the buns!

    toasted burger buns

    While the onions cook, toast the buns under the broiler until golden brown.

    Step 20: Onions are caramelized.

    caramelized onions in cast iron skillet

    After a few minutes, the onions should be soft, brown, and sweet.

    Step 21: Cut the weave.

    bacon weave cut into fourths

    Cut the bacon weave into four even squares, one per burger.

    Step 22: Start assembly.

    cheeseburger buns with toppings

    Spread the sauce on the top and bottom buns, then add a few pickle slices (or whatever other toppings or bottomings you like) to the bottom or top bun.

    Step 23: Add the burger.

    cheeseburger

    Add the burger patties.

    Step 24: Add the onions.

    cheeseburger with onions

    Top the patties with browned onions.

    Step 25: Add the weave.

    cheeseburger with bacon

    Place a square of bacon weave on top of each burger.

    Step 26: Close'em up!

    bacon cheeseburger

    Close the burgers and get yourself ready for a good time.

    Step 27: Profit.

    bacon cheeseburger

    Dig in, big guy.

    Autopsy

    bacon cheeseburger with onions cut in half

    Nice and rosy pink and juicy throughout.