I’ve eaten so, so many burgers. I have my favorites in town. I’ve made my own before. But for the Fourth of July I took it upon myself to make the best burger I could. For America! And to do that it means homemade everything. EVERYTHING! AMERICA!
First up — and admittedly least necessary — I made my own melty American cheese. Using the process from Chef Steps I reengineered my cheddar cheese into a round, melty American to more appropriately fit on the burgers. It was a bit of a pain but something I had been wanting to try for a long time. The slices definitely melted nicely, though next time I’d mix in a little more milk to get a thinner, creamery texture. More realistically, next time I’m going to buy some good cheese and not bother, since it didn’t make a huge difference.
I cooked a lot of bacon for this bacon jam recipe. One and a half pounds of bacon. Thankfully we have a side burner on the grill outside so I didn’t permanently infuse a bacon scent in our house. It took three panfuls of chopped bacon to cook it all, which also resulted in a nice half-cup of bacon fat to keep in the fridge. The rest of the process includes sautéing aromatics before reducing bourbon and syrup with spices into a jam consistency. It’s sweet from the syrup, vegetal from the shallots, and rich from the bourbon. This stuff is showstoppingly dangerous.
Sesame Seed Buns
When this much care goes into a burger, you can’t compromise on the bun. I baked these sesame seed buns to hold everything in place as the perfect foundation. Brioche-like and exceptionally soft while strong enough to hold up to the heftiness getting loaded inside. Surprisingly easy, if you have 3 hours, you can have fresh-baked buns for any meal, and I would highly recommend them for your next burger. The beauty of baking your own buns is you can make them the exact right size to fit the patties. No extra bread overhang here!
For the star of the show I used a blend of meats to achieve the holy grail of what a hamburger should strive to be. These patties are the new standard by which all other burger patties should be judged. It took some time to chop up 6 pounds of meat and then chill and then grind, but it’s worth it. The real secret here I think is to grind all the meat with the larger 3/8″ die and then grind half of the ground meat again with the smaller 1/4″ die. Combine all of it back together and measure out your portions. Six ounces is the perfect size, especially when formed in my new burger shaper!
All that remains is some fire and assembly. I’m all about single-flipping, ensuring great grill marks, which these
high-appropriate-fat patties yearned for. Once flipped, add the cheese and wait a minute. In the meantime toast up the buns and get your landing zone ready. Once the burgers are bunned, all they needed were lettuce, tomato, and a healthy spread of bacon jam. When I say this is one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten it isn’t hyperbole. This labor of love was worth every second and something I’ll definitely tackle again. Let me know if you want one 😉