No one can resist this burger. It combines the best of all ingredients. And, I should know. My family loves burgers. We love all kinds of burgers, from the foie gras-stuffed versions of white tablecloth restaurants to the drip-down-your-arm burgers at off-the-beaten-path dives. You can imagine how I felt a few years ago when I was invited to be a judge at Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger contest. It was heavenly. Ten burgers, each one more delicious than the last. The only thing better was the next year when I was lucky enough to be a pre-judge and taste 30 burgers all destined for greatness. Every year when the contest rolls around I begin to fantasize about entering (Californians aren’t allowed to) and begin building my own superstar burgers. This bacon and cheddar-stuffed burger is one of the simplest and one of the most delicious to come out of my kitchen. - lori
—Lori Lyn Narlock
Test Kitchen Notes
These were a delicious mess (and I mean that in the best possible way)! I think a key to success is that the stuffing has a lot of flavor in the bacon, but the cheese needs to be a little creamy. I used super-smoky bacon and sharp cheddar -- I think next time I'd try a milder, softer cheese. Trust the 4 minutes per side cook time: it doesn't seem like enough, but the entire center of the burger is cheese and bacon, so medium rare comes much faster than you'd think. - Savorykitchen —The Editors
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. Discard the drippings.
Return the pan to medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is evenly browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook until dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the thyme and remove from the heat
While the onions are cooking, 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.
Cut the tomato into four thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit. (This helps to eliminate the liquid and concentrate the flavors.)
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the bacon and cheese in a small bowl. Divide into 4 portions and shape each into a patty small enough to fit in the center of a patty. Top each with the remaining patties and press the edges together to seal.
Spread the butter evenly over the tops and bottoms of the buns. Put on the grill, crust-side up. Cook until toasted, about 1. Transfer to a cutting board and spread equal amounts of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce over the bottom half of each roll.
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 among the rolls, top each with one-quarter of the onions, a tomato slice, lettuce leaf and the top of the bun. Serve immediately.