Every summer we spend a few weekends at my family cabin, where we observe happy hour as though it were church on Sunday. Our cocktail fare tends to be a little bit on the junk-food side of things, including a queso dip I tried to recreate from one of our favorite Napa Valley restaurants.
This burger, like so many great recipes, was the result of using up leftovers. We'd had queso dip the night before and rather than drag home a tiny bit, we spread it on our burgers. We loved it so much we just kept adding to the burger until we thought it was perfect. —Lori Lyn Narlock
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Lorinarlock is a cook, eater, reader, and writer living in Napa. (Mind if we join you?)
WHAT: You don't have to choose between pimento cheese dip, bacon, and a burger -- have it all at once.
HOW: Fry bacon and mix together pimento cheese. Tuck the diced bacon between burger patties, grill them, and then arrange on a bun with mashed avocado, greens, and fresh-pickled onions.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This burger is what dreams are made of. The rich combination of our favorite late-night foods is balanced by tart pickled onions. Plus, we’re almost always excited about a bacon surprise. —The Editors
slices bacon, diced
large white onion, halved and sliced paper-thin
rice wine vinegar
cream cheese, room temperature
extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
large jalapeño, minced
finely chopped pickled jalapeño
1 1/4 pounds
ground beef (15% fat)
Dutch Crunch or other sturdy rolls, split in half
Put the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and discard the drippings.
Slice the onion and put it into a deep, narrow bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cheddar cheese.
Add the fresh and pickled jalapeño to the cream cheese and cheddar cheese mixture. Add the pimentos and a pinch of cayenne. Pulse until thoroughly combined.
Divide the ground beef into 8 equal portions and shape into 1/4 inch-thick patties. Use the bottom of a small bowl or plate to mark a spot for the stuffing. Divide the bacon among four of the patties. Top each with one of the remaining patties and press the edges together to seal. Set aside.
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Put the buns on the grill, cut side-down. Cook until toasted, about 1 minute, moving as needed to prevent burning.
Transfer the buns to a cutting board and spread 4 of them with mayonnaise. Mash one-quarter of the avocado on top of the mayonnaise on each roll. Top with a small handful of the lettuce mix and a scoop of the onions.
Spread the other four rolls with equal amounts of the pimento cheese. (You may want to use less than the entire recipe. Any leftover can be refrigerated for up to one week.)
Season the patties with salt and pepper and put on the grill. Cook, covered, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Divide the patties among the rolls. Arrange the top half of the buns over each burger. Serve immediately.