Classic bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and a good slather of mayo makes this the perfect addition to your barbecue or 4th of July party.
Whenever I am asked what my favourite food is, I feel a little shy to say “CHEESEBURGERS!!” Because, well, I always think that people want me to say something sophisticated like “Beef bourguignon” or “Oh, just a simple dish of grass-fed beef served with a buttery bearnaise sauce with a side of steamed asparagus.” And yeah, I love all of those things but really, all I want in life is a good cheeseburger. I am a complete sucker for them and most of my friends know that if there’s a cheeseburger on the menu, I’ll be ordering it. It is my quest in life to find the perfect cheeseburger.
It is also my quest to make the perfect cheeseburger. And yes, I have made many fine burgers in my life but a good, classic cheeseburger with simple toppings is one of the many joys in my life. But then you add bacon and it feels like Heaven and Earth have finally aligned (shout-out to Echosmith). But, and it’s a big but, you have to use the very best bacon you can find to make the best bacon cheeseburger. I can not tell you how much of a difference it will make to your burger if you use seriously good bacon. If the bacon you normally cook releases a lot of water or that disgusting white, gel-stuff, you’re not cooking real bacon. Real bacon should be dry-cured, slowly smoked and should taste like all kinds of sexy in your mouth.
I am very lucky to have a supplier of awesome bacon on my doorstep in the form of my favourite restaurant, Ginger and Fig. Zane, the chef and owner, makes his own bacon and hot damn. The stuff is magic. Now I know, not everyone will be as lucky to have Zane in their lives but if you look around, you’re bound to find a proper bacon producer and I guarantee your life will be better for it.
So now you have really good bacon, I bet you think I’m going to tell you to use the very best cheese you can find. Wrong! I am of the belief that the very best cheese for a classic bacon cheeseburger is the plastic, weirdly-textured stuff you buy already sliced from any supermarket. Of course you can go for mature cheddar or mozzarella if you really want but there’s something charming about those slices of cheese and so I love using them on these burgers. Add some fresh lettuce, a few slices of ripe tomato and a lick of mayo and you have awesomeness in every bite.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1kg beef mince
- large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- black pepper, to taste
- sliced cheese
- bacon, cooked to your preference
- fresh lettuce
- ripe tomatoes, sliced
- butter-toasted bread rolls
- Fry the onion in a large frying pan in a splash of olive oil until golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds then remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Mix the cooled onions with the beef, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper. To test the seasoning, fry a teaspoon-full of the mixture in the pan you cooked the onions in. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Divide the mixture into 5-6 (depending on how you big you want the patties), and form patties with wet hands.
- Place on a tray lined with baking paper and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- When the patties have rested, heat a large cast iron pan/griddle pan until hot then cook the burgers until charred and cooked to your preference. (You can also cook the burgers on a braai/barbecue.)
- Remove from the heat, top with the cheese and cover with foil for 2 minutes.
- Top the buns with a generous spoonful of mayo, lettuce, tomato, the patty with cheese and finally bacon.
- Serve immediately.