You probably think you already grill the ultimate burger. Maybe you have your own secret weapon you blend into the burger meat. Or maybe you have a proprietary technique to shaping the patties. But, regardless of your burger convictions, you must suspend your opinions until you've tried the following version.
The recipe comes from Steve Schimoler, the executive chef and owner of Crop Bistro & Bar, a commanding restaurant in Cleveland, that's built inside an old bank. In the basement kitchen of Crop, right next to the vault, they're whipping up meatloaf bacon burgers.
You read that last part, right?
Meatloaf. Bacon. Burgers.
After shaping a mixture that includes ground sirloin and brisket, Schimoler's team bastes the meatloaf with ketchup and then enrobes it with bacon. They bake the meatloaf, refrigerate it, slice the loaf into rounds, and then grill the slices to slide into burgers. The result is pure pork-on-beef goodness.
Slather atop some of Schimoler's cherry barbecue sauce and take a bite. That experience you'll undergo? That's the feeling of your ultimate burger definition changing. (Follow this recipe by swapping beef for wild salmon, and expand your burger horizons.)
Meatloaf Bacon Burgers
Recipe by Steve Schimoler, executive chef and owner of Crop Bistro & Bar in Cleveland, OH
What you'll need:
1 lb. ground sirloin, preferably Certified Angus Beef
1 lb. ground beef brisket
1/2 medium yellow or Spanish onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ketchup
10 to 12 slices bacon
How to make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, add the meat, eggs, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, combine the mixture until uniform throughout.
2. Add the panko and mix until well incorporated, but take care not to over-mix. Transfer the meat to a large baking sheet or ovenproof baking dish. Shape into a log about 3 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Brush the meatloaf with the ketchup.
3. Carefully wrap the loaf with the bacon strips, overlapping each slice slightly and tucking the bacon under and around the loaf.
4. Transfer the meatloaf to the oven and bake until the bacon browns and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loaf reads 155°F, 45 to 55 minutes.
5. Remove the meatloaf from the oven, transfer to a clean tray or plate, and allow to cool.
6. Wrap the meatloaf in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
7. Slice the meatloaf into 1-inch-thick slices and grill over direct heat until seared, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Serve with the toppings of your choice. We recommend the cherry barbecue sauce (below) and caramelized onions. Makes 10 to 12 burgers. (Taste The 5 Best Burger Cheeses to add serious flavor to your next burger.)
Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Recipe by Steve Schimoler
What you'll need:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 quart basic BBQ sauce, your choice
1 to 3 canned chipotle peppers, depending on your heat tolerance
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
How to make it:
1. In a large sauce pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they're translucent and the edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cherries and water, lower the heat to medium, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and brown sugar, lower the heat to low, stir, and simmer until well incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about 30 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool.
2. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth. Makes 10 to 12 servings. (The mixture will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.)
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