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Author Notes: 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
Food52 Review: 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
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 large red onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 large ripe tomato
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (with at least 16% fat)
- 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
- 4 hamburger buns or small ciabatta rolls
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- 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.