Independence Day, one of my absolute favorite holidays, is just around the bend! Celebrate with this juicy, decadent version of the all-American classic at your holiday barbecue. Topped with smoked cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy thick-cut bacon, it brings simple grilled fare to a whole new level.
Bacon Cheddar Smokehouse Burger
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup water or white wine
2 pounds ground beef chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces smoked cheddar, sliced
4 brioche burger buns
Smokehouse Burger Sauce
8 slices crisp cooked thick-cut bacon
1 large sliced tomato and lettuce leaves for serving
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and butter. When butter has melted, add onions and stir to coat. Stir every 5 minutes or so for 40 minutes until deep golden, adding a splash of water or wine when needed to scrape up any browned bits. Season the caramelized onions to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.
Divide beef into 4 8-ounce portions and gently shape into 3/4-inch-thick patties, being careful not to pack the meat tightly. Create an indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb, which will prevent burgers from bulging when cooked. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Pre-heat grill or cast iron grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush patties with remaining tablespoon canola oil and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill for 5 minutes without pressing down or moving, then turn over and top with cheese. Close lid (or loosely tent with foil if using grill pan) and cook for 5 more minutes until cheese has melted* and burgers have reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Toast buns on grill, then slather both sides with Smokehouse Burger Sauce. Build burgers with bacon, tomato and lettuce.
*Smoked cheddar takes longer to melt than other cheeses. If you plan substitute with regular cheddar, add during last minute of cooking time.
Smokehouse Burger Sauce:
1 cup best quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons whole grain or coarse ground (grainy) mustard
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
I developed and photographed this recipe for the June/July 2016 issue of Sheridan Road Magazine.