Cast Iron

Smoky Homegrown Burgers

October  4, 2022
2 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

WOW how can you come up with just one BEST BURGER, been making me crazy all week, burgers are so individual! And I like different burgers at different times, sometimes it has to be American cheese, pickles, catsup, sesame seed bun, other times, blue cheese & bacon, others a fried egg is best thing ever. I narrowed it down, this is my best burger of the week, its almost (almost) exclusively local, so if you're making this outside of Philly use your best local products. Oh and have a snack before you make the onions, I will tell you, from experience, that the scent of onions slowly cooking in beer and butter will drive you mad if you're hungry. Last bit of the recipe sources everything I used, but please use what grows near you. Don't you love knowing where your food comes from!! (oops was that too preachy???) —Aliwaks

What You'll Need
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 cup Dark beer (nothing too Hoppy)
  • 1 Sprig Thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dark Honey
  • 3/4 Fresh ground local beef
  • 2 Challah or brioche Buns
  • 2 thick slices Smoked Cheddar
  • 3 teaspoons Smoked paprika
  • 4 slices Cooked Thick Cut Smokey Bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Homemade Mayonaise
  • a few Shakes Valentina (or other smoky) Hot Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Thick Slices of Tomato
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Garlic-y Pickle
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon or so ground cumin
  1. Melt Butter in large saute pan on extremely low heat add thinly sliced onion and thyme sprig, sprinkle onion with salt, & fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Once onions soak up the butter and start to brown, add in honey & beer...let cook for at least an hour over low heat stirring occasionally to keep from want them soft, sticky and brown (can be done at least up to 2 days ahead of time).
  3. Form meat in to two patties of roughly the same size, try to handle the meat as little as possible, and wet your hands with cold water to keep them from getting sticky, you want them about the circumference of the average grapefruit..and about an inch thick.
  4. Make a small well or dimple in the bottom center of each burger, this will keep them from seizing up and turning in to fat balls.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of the burgers generously with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin.
  6. Heat cast Iron pan (or if you are lucky enough to have a cast iron griddle use that!) till really really incredibly hot, I do this outside on my grill, or on the stove top, if you live in an apartment consider using the broiler or at least opening up some windows and turning on the fan
  7. Lay the burgers dimple side down, you want to hear a nice sssssss sound. Then leave them there, do not touch them. really don't touch them, stand down!
  8. Mix Mayonnaise together, minced garlic clove, another teaspoon smoked paprika, and several good shots of hot sauce, taste it adjust seasonings till you like it. (Don't touch that burger!)
  9. Slice buns and get ready to toast them, Slice the tomato, give them a bit of a salting and a grind of pepper slices
  10. Now flip the burger and layer in this order : Bacon, Onions, Cheese. Cover the pan or close the grill or put in the broiler or oven on a nice high heat (450?) , till they reach the desired temp. I'm no burger Nazi I will not dictate what temp your burger should be.
  11. However, during this time if you toast the buns till they are golden and crunchy on the inside and soft and warm on the outside then butter them lightly (or not) and then carefully smear a bit of mayo on top of the bottom bun, sprinkle chopped pickle over that and lay the tomato slice on top of that. Arrange each bun on a plate with a roasted ear of corn, take a couple of swigs if beer or a few sips of wine then by that point, the cheese will be all melted and your burger will be done the way I like it.
  12. Philly Local Sources: Beef & Smoked Cheddar: Hillacres Farm, Broiche Buns: Wildflour bakery, Butter, Eggs (for Mayo) & Bacon: Green Meadows Farm, Tomatoes, Garlic & Onions: Greensgrow (I think) BEER: I used Sly Fox's O'Reilly's Irish Stout Phoenixville , PA , can't remember where I got the pickles, you can find everything but the beer at Green Aisle Grocery or Fair Food Farm Stand or Headhouse Square farmers market!
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2 Reviews

mrslarkin July 23, 2010
Holy moly - those onions sound fantastic. Burger too!!!
nannydeb July 23, 2010
Delish! I agree about different BEST burgers. It's gonna be tough narrowing it down to two finalists!