Making the perfect burger can be quite difficult. You want the burger to be juicy, but hold its shape on the grill. The key is choosing a great cut of meat, rather than just picking up a package of ground beef. However, you don’t need a professional meat grinder to break down the cuts of meat yourself.
Instead, just use a food processor or blender. It will give you complete control over the grind and consistency of the burger. I know it sounds crazy to put meat in a blender, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Plus, you can add diced jalapeños and bacon directly to the ground beef.
This is probably one of the juiciest and most flavorful bacon burgers I’ve had in a long time.
Grinding your own meat can also save you a bit of money. For example, the $14.99 sirloin steak that I purchased to make these burgers was large enough to make at least 6 huge burgers. Normally, we buy 4 pre-made burgers for the same price. They aren’t as tender, about half the size, and not nearly as juicy as these.
The trick to grinding the meat in a blender is to gently freeze the meat first. Otherwise, the blender will completely destroy the meat. By placing the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes, it becomes firm enough to grind down to pieces slightly larger than rice grains. Grinding cold butter with the meat will evenly distribute the butter throughout the meat, yielding perfectly juicy burgers.
These bacon burgers can also be made in advance. After grinding the meat and shaping the burgers, cover and place them in the refrigerator until 40 minutes prior to eating. Then, move the burgers into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm them up while the grill is preheating. This will help hold the burgers together while grilling.
These burgers are served with a bacon jam and sriracha sauce. Both of these condiments can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. I usually make them while the meat pieces are firming up in the freezer. Then, you can just grab a summer brew and join everyone outside at the grill while the burgers are sizzling away without worrying about any last-minute additions.
Be sure to keep your eyes glued to The Table this week. An upcoming recipe will be the perfect side dish for these juicy burgers (*hint* it’s the brightly-colored thing in the pictures).
- 1½ lbs sirloin steak
- 3 tbsp butter, refrigerated
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 jalapeños, diced (optional)
- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped (optional)
- 8 slices of pepper jack cheese
- 4 brioche buns
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 12 strips of thick-cut bacon
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup ketchup
- 1½ tbsp Sriracha
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Chop the sirloin into pieces about ½ inch wide. Spread out onto a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, until the pieces start to become firm.
- Transfer ⅓ of the meat pieces to a food processor or blender. Add 1 tbsp of the cold butter. Pulse until the meat is broken down to pieces slightly larger than rice grains. Then, remove from blender and spread out over the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining two batches of meat and remaining butter.
- Discard any large pieces of meat, connective tissue, and butter. Add the diced jalapeños and bacon to the ground meat, if desired. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the meat and lightly toss to combine. Do not overwork the meat. Form the ground meat and butter into 4 equal-sized patties. Using your thumb, make a ¼ inch depression in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 to 40 minutes, until the burgers are firm.
- Preheat the grill until hot, then oil the cooking grate. Season the burgers with any additional salt and pepper, then grill for about 5 to 8 minutes per side. The internal temperature should reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare or 130 degrees for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, add two slices of cheese to each burger. Remove the burgers from the grill and allow them to rest on a plate while toasting the buns on the grill, about 1 to 2 minutes. Watch the buns carefully to ensure that they don't burn.
- Assemble the burgers and enjoy!
- Slice the bacon into strips about ¼ inch wide. Add the bacon and water to a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Render the bacon until crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Then, place the bacon on paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the skillet.
- Add the diced yellow onion to the skillet and cook over low heat until caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a ceramic bowl and add the bacon, white wine vinegar and a few sprigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Remove the sprigs of thyme before warming and serving.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready for use.