team, we’re doing it: we’re putting bacon *in* our burgers. yep. we’re grinding up bacon ends, combining that with ground beef, and shaping it into bacon burgers. and we’re not sad about it. not one bit.
these bacon burgers were one of my first reintroductions to beef after an, oh, 29-year hiatus. and i can honestly say that now i get what all the fuss about good burgers is about. and these bacon burgers are some good burgers.
let’s chat about details, shall we?
what are bacon ends and can i just use bacon instead?
delicious and yes. bacon ends are basically the yummy scraps that didn’t quite make the aesthetic cut for strip bacon, despite being made out of the same thing. so instead of tossing them, the butcher crams them into a very unglamourous package and sells them for a lower price. win!
trader joe’s sells them, as does my local coop, in the same case as the bacon. if you can’t find them, regular strip bacon makes a great substitute, you know, on account of it being basically the same thing.
do i need a meat grinder for this?
no. but did i buy one after making these bacon burgers for the first time, knowing that i had a long future of making bacon burgers ahead of me? sure did. i bought the one that clamps onto the front of my kitchenaid (affiliate) and it’s been great so far. the whole thing goes together and comes apart easily and most of the pieces go in the dishwasher, so we don’t need a pile of toothpicks or old toothbrushes to get everything clean.
if you don’t have a meat grinder, a sharp knife will work too: just mince up the bacon as finely as you can (and see the next section about tips).
tips for making bacon burgers
my number one tip for making bacon burgers is to keep the bacon ends in the fridge (or even the freezer for a few minutes) until you are ready to use them. it’s much easier to grind/chop the bacon ends if they are very cold. otherwise the fat just mushes around, and that’s not quite as easy to work with. cold is good.
and if you are using a meat grinder, i like to run the bacon through, then combine it (read: aggressively knead it) with the beef with my hands, and then run the whole mixture through the grinder again before shaping it into burgers, so that the burgers aren’t dense little hockey pucks on account of my aggressive combination tactics. so if you’re using a knife for the bacon, just don’t get too zealous when it comes time to combine the bacon and the beef.
tips for grilling
here’ s the thing about bacon: it has a lot of fat. that’s most of the reason why it’s delicious. here’s the thing about fat: it makes fire flare up. so, if you are grilling these burgers on an outdoor/open flame grill, expect the flames to flare more than with your average beef-only burgers. we’ve made these several times and nothing crazy has happened, but under the lid, you can hear more fat dripping and more flames flaring.
if you’re concerned/don’t have a grill, a skillet or panini press (affiliate) also works beautifully.
and on that exciting note, let’s go grill some bacon burgers! it’s currently 55 degrees outside, but my weather app assures me tomorrow (today by the time you’re reading this) will be fully 30 degrees warmer, so i think it’s safe to declare grilling season open. and it’s not like i wasn’t out there grilling in snow boots a few weeks ago anyway…
while you have the grill fired up, try one of these grilled veggies (/fruits) with your bacon burgers:
grilled eggplant with tzatziki, feta, and mint
grilled zucchini and onions with mint and feta
grilled corn and tomato pasta
grilled bok choy with sesame oil
grilled eggplant caprese stacks
grilled peaches with burrata cheese
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
- 5 ½ oz. (156 g.) cold bacon ends, see notes
- 1 pound (16 oz. / 454 g.) ground beef, see notes
- using either a meat grinder (affiliate) or sharp knife, finely grind/chop the bacon ends into a large mixing bowl. add the ground beef and use your hands to combine the two meats together, gently if you don’t have a meat grinder. if you’re using a meat grinder, run the combined mixture through the machine again to make sure the burgers aren’t too dense.
- shape the mixture into patties; i made (5) 4 oz. patties but go with whatever size works for you.
- preheat a grill (or griddle) to medium-high heat. cook the burgers to your desired level of doneness, keeping in mind that the burgers contain pork and that the extra fat from the bacon ends will help keep the burgers juicy, even if they are cooked to a higher temperature.
- leftovers (cooked or raw, stored separately) keep for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. making a large batch of burgers, shaping them into thin, flat patties, and then freezing them with waxed paper between the layers so that you can grab what you need for quick dinners is a brilliant idea.
trader joe’s sells organic grass fed ground beef for $5.99/lb.! it’s 85% lean. that’s what i always use to make these burgers. you can use whatever you like, of course, but i just wanted to mention since that’s the best price i’ve seen by far for organic grass fed ground beef.
as mentioned above, bacon ends are basically the bits of bacon that were too ugly to be strips of bacon. i’ve always found them in the same deli case as the bacon (trader joe's sells them). if your store doesn’t have them, regular strip bacon is a perfect substitute, since it’s basically the same thing.
also, the ratio of bacon to beef is up to you. i’ve never gone above 50/50, but i have played around with different ratios, usually going with whatever i feel like that day/have ingredients to make. so feel free to experiment and find your favorite ratio!
Serves: 5 burgers
Amount Per Serving:
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 22 g.||33.8%|
|Saturated Fat 8 g.||40%|
|Trans Fat 0 g.|
|Cholesterol 132 mg.||44%|
|Sodium 326 mg.||13.6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 0 g.||0|
|Dietary Fiber 0 g.||0|
|Sugars 0 g.|
|Protein 43 g.|
|Vitamin A||Vitamin C|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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