Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was genius.Matthew McConaughey
In the US, I think there are three types of hamburger lovers: those that love In ‘n’ Out, those that love Five Guys, and everyone else. Admit it, you have a favorite, don’t you?
For those of us in California (and the Western US), In ‘n’ Out burgers are a thing of beauty. Their customers are tried and true, cult-like even, for this religious outpost of mouth-watering burgers. At In ‘n’ Out, the menu is simple: Single or Double-Double. With or without cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sauce. That’s it—you combine these minimal elements as you wish. (For the diehards, you can complicate things with their secret menu.) Always friendly with competent service, there’s no wonder there’s a mile long wait always at every location.
Five Guys is more a phenomenon enjoyed by the East Coasters. Their menu has many more accoutrements for the burger: grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, peppers, jalapeños, and countless condiments. There’s something to be said for the customization of your own burger, cooked as you like, with the perfect layering of ingredients that make your tongue sing. For those who love all the bells and whistles, there’s no denying this is also a great burger. And their fries are, admittedly, ten times better than In ‘n’ Out (animal-style notwithstanding).
Everyone has their own personal taste when it comes to burgers. Cheese or no cheese? And what kind of cheese? Bacon or no bacon? How much bacon? Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, all of the above, or none of the above? Secret sauce? Burgers are akin to your own personal style preferences. You like what you like. That’s it. Amen.
Personally, I enjoy the meat to be an even mix of ground sirloin (90%) and a mix of ground beef (80%). The meat textures are a bit different, though when mixed together, it makes for a meatier and more tasty burger. And for me, it’s Cheddar over American or Swiss. Crispy thick-sliced bacon, two slices please. And let’s not forget the “secret sauce.” It’s just a little something extra special to say “I’m homemade, and I’m delicious!”
Nothing says “American Food” quite like a terrific hamburger. In honor of Sunday BBQs, Memorial Day and National Hamburger Day (on May 28), here’s my own special “Old-Fashioned Bacon Cheeseburger” recipe to light your fire—and to light up your grill. Bun me!
OLD-FASHIONED BACON CHEESEBURGER
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8 persons
Air Fryer French Fries or Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
Strawberry Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries
Ingredients ~ Special Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Ingredients ~ Burger
1.5 pounds ground sirloin (90% lean)
1.5 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese
16 slices cooked bacon
Assorted Toppings: Butter lettuce leaves, sliced tomato, sliced red onion, sliced avocado, sliced pickles
Preparation ~ Special Sauce
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made two days ahead if covered and refrigerated.
Preparation ~ Burgers
- Prepare BBQ grill to 400 degrees.
- Divide meat into 8 portions. (Adjust burger size as you wish.)
- Form patties and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Grill for approximately 5 minutes-more or less depending upon desired doneness.
- Before taking off the grill, place one slice of cheese on top of each burger. Continue to cook with grill closed. Remove from grill and allow to rest before serving.
- Prepare platter of burger accompaniments: buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, etc, and serve with burgers family style at the table. Allow everyone to make on their own.
Preparation ~ Burgers
1. Prepare BBQ grill to 400 degrees.
2. Divide meat into 8 portions. (Adjust burger size as you wish.)
3. Form patties and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
4. Grill for approximately 5 minutes; grill more or less depending upon desired doneness.
5. Before taking off grill, place one slide of cheese on top of each burger. Continue to cook with grill closed. Remove from grill and allow to rest before serving.
6. Prepare platter of burger accompaniments: buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, etc. and serve with burgers family-style at the table. Allow everyone to make their own.