OK, so the title of this recipe is probably scaring you. You’re probably thinking “Geez, Molly, high maintenance much?” And yes, the answer is simply that: YES.
This burger recipe is anything but ordinary. Yes, there are a lot of components. Yes, it can definitely be categorized in the “save this for a weekend” category. Yes, you are probably shaking your head at me. Yes, it is worth every damn moment (and calorie!) of your time.
Here’s my justification for this over-the-top creation: it’s the end of the year and we may as well go out on a high note. Ya know, before salads and fresh juices and new exercise routines take over our lives and we’re made to feel guilty about even daydreaming about a meal like this one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of all those things and am looking forward to a fresh start, but I am definitely OK with indulging one last time before we all kick it into high gear. Are you with me? Good. Let’s throw our better judgement out the window and get into this bad boy.
When I was brainstorming for this recipe, I knew I wanted to do something special with bacon. It’s no secret that I love bacon and cook with it often. It’s my favorite. But one thing I had never done with it? Glaze it! The glazed bacon aspect of this burger was actually what inspired the whole thing. Bacon glazed with beer? And maple syrup? And mustard? SIGN ME UP. It gets so deliciously crunchy and salty sweet. GAH. So good. If I was going to go to the trouble to make such a thing, I knew it needed a worthy vessel. A cheeseburger was the obvious choice.
My husband loves onions. He’ll eat them in any form and can never get enough. One of his most favorite treats are onion rings or any crispy fried version of an onion. So, to go with my epic bacon, I decided on crispy onion strings to top this burger. And it was probably the best decision ever. Well, aside from the tangy and spicy homemade aioli. Can you tell I’m having a hard time picking my favorite element of this burger? Everything is so OMG AWESOME. And when you put them all together…it’s magic.
The juicy, cheesy burger topped with the beer-glazed bacon, crispy onions, a thick slather of the spicy aioli…and some baby arugula and pickles thrown in for good measure…it is heaven on earth. My husband, a burger aficionado, declared this, through much moaning and finger licking, the best burger I’ve ever created…and not to pat myself TOO hard on the back, but I agree with him.
This burger puts all other burgers to shame. Because there really isn’t anything else you need when it comes to a burger. Except maybe a fried egg! Do that! Tell me how it is. I already know the answer: AMAZING. A drippy egg yolk makes all things better (read the title of the blog, people).
This would be the perfect “special” thing to serve at a New Year’s Eve shindig, too. Make these in slider form and put out a platter. Your guests will flip. It will make everyone’s 2015 go out with a bang.
I mean it. It’s worth every.damn.calorie.
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
1 cup canola oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
3 teaspoons sriracha (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple sugar
½ cup stout beer
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
10 slices thick-cut bacon
1 large onion
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup canola oil, for pan frying
1 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, grated or pressed
2 teaspoon onion powder
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Sliced cheddar or gouda cheese
Dill pickle slices
Place the egg yolks and grated garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
With the machine running, VERY SLOWLY stream in the oil. Run the machine the entire time, pausing with the oil every few seconds to allow each addition to incorporate. Once the oil is all added, continue running the machine until the mixture is thick, emulsified, and pale yellow. It should look like mayonnaise.
Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the sriracha. Season with a little salt and pepper and then run the machine to incorporate everything. Check the seasoning one last time and adjust as necessary.
Transfer the aioli to an airtight container and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use. It will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and then top the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.
Arrange the bacon in an even layer on the prepared sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F and remove the bacon. Blot up the rendered fat using paper towels. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the sugar and syrup over medium heat in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the beer and continue to simmer until the mixture has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the mustard, cayenne, and a pinch of salt.
Brush the glaze over the bacon and return to the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved.
Peel the onion and slice very thinly. Separate the slices and place in a shallow baking dish or bowl and pour the buttermilk over top. Soak the onions for at least an hour.
In another dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne, whisking well. Set aside.
Heat the canola oil up in a cast-iron skillet until a thermometer reads 375°F.
Remove the onions from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off, and then dredge through the flour mixture until evenly coated. Shake off the excess flour.
In batches, add the breaded onions to the hot oil and cook, stirring them around, for 30 seconds or until golden brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
Mix together the ground beef, garlic, onion powder, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Form the mixture into four patties.
Preheat the grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook for 4 minutes per side. During the last minute of cooking, add the slices of cheese. Remove the burgers from the heat and allow to rest for a minute or two.
On the bottom half of each burger bun, generously slather on the sriracha aioli. Top with a handful of baby arugula and then the burger patties. Top each burger patty with a couple dill pickle slices, the bacon, and the crispy onions. Enjoy immediately.