Beef and Bacon Burgers

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It’s true what they say: Bacon makes everything better. (And that goes double for these juicy burgers.)

Beef and Bacon Burgers
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ pound thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 pretzel buns, halved and toasted
  • Lettuce, tomato slices, Beer Pickles (recipe below), ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, to serve
Instructions
  1. Freeze bacon until firm, about 1 hour. Cut bacon into large pieces. In the work bowl of a food processor, place bacon; process until ground.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and onion; cook until bacon is partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon mixture using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together bacon mixture, beef, Worcestershire, parsley, pepper, and salt. Divide beef mixture into 4 portions, and shape each portion into a 5-inch patty. In same skillet, cook patties over medium heat for 3 minutes per side. Place skillet in oven.
  5. Bake for 4 minutes. Add cheese; bake until cheese is melted, about 1 minute more. Serve patties on buns with lettuce, tomato, Beer Pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo, if desired.

 

Infused with a hint of hops, these pickles are also great served on a meat and cheese board.

Beer Pickles
Serves: 4 (16-ounce) jars
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons pickling lime
  • 1 pound pickling cucumbers, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle India pale ale beer
  • 1½ cups distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Instructions
  1. In a large nonreactive bowl, stir together 6 cups cold water and pickling lime. Add cucumber slices, and stir again. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and let stand for 6 hours.
  2. Strain, and rinse cucumber slices and bowl well. Return cucumber slices to bowl; cover with cold water, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain.
  3. In a large enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven, combine beer, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and coriander seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Fill 4 (16-ounce) sterilized glass jars with cucumbers to within 1 inch of top of jars. Pour brine over cucumbers, leaving ½ inch of headspace at top of jars. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, and secure lids and bands. Process in a water bath as directed on page 88 for 12 minutes. Remove from water, and let cool at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Let pickles rest for 24 hours before serving. (Alternatively, refrigerate for up to 3 months.) Refrigerate after opening.

 
Garlic and Parmesan bring plain fries to new levels of tasty.
Garlic Parmesan French Fries
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 3×¼-inch sticks (about 1 pound)
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large bowl; cover with cold water. Let stand for at least 3 hours or refrigerate overnight. Drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Fill a large cast-iron Dutch oven halfway with oil, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 300°.
  3. Working in batches (do not overcrowd pot), fry potatoes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain 300°.) Remove potatoes using a slotted spatula, and let drain on paper towels.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high, and heat oil until deep-fry thermometer registers 400°.
  5. Working in batches (do not overcrowd pot), fry potatoes again, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain 400°.) Remove potatoes using a slotted spatula, and let drain on paper towels. Place fries in a large bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, combine cheese and garlic powder. Sprinkle cheese mixture over fries; gently toss. Sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.