Bacon Wrap Your Burger

When beef is just not enough meat for you, wrap your burger in baconWhen beef is just not enough meat for you, wrap your burger in baconThere are times in life when you want to eat healthy, times when you want everything you consume to be all-natural, low in fat, and maybe even vegetarian. In these times you push all your cravings and desires aside for the benefit of your diet.

This is not one of those times.

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This time we're thinking of one of the most gluttonous dishes one could ever create, and showing you how to make it. That's right - it's time to make the ultimate bacon-wrapped burger, all five slices of bacon and a quarter-pound of beef of it, grilled to perfection and served nicely on a toasted sesame seed bun.

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What makes our burger the ultimate? The name is no mistake - we've taken every single measure to make sure this burger was planned and cooked to be the best it can be. You may have seen a bacon-wrapped burger before, but it probably had one flimsy slice of bacon wrapped around its edges, or was sloppily made by wrapping thick slices of bacon haphazardly around it. In those recipes, they may tell you at what temperature to cook the burger and for how long, but do they address their reasoning for pre-cooking the bacon, or why they chose to grill the whole thing raw?

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For our ultimate bacon-wrapped burger, we took every single piece of the puzzle into consideration. From the type of burger meat to use and its meat-to-fat ratio to the flavor of bacon we wanted and the size needed for the task. Not only is our recipe well thought out, but it's perfectly executed, resulting in a beautifully basket-weaved burger that looks so delicious you'll think it's a dream.

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We know what you're thinking: it seems like a lot of bacon - and it is. With one slice of most types of bacon weighing in at around 3 grams of fat, there's absolutely no reason why you should be putting five of them on your burger, because the burger alone is not that appealing in the health department, either. But it has to be said, that with health, calories, and fat aside, this burger is truly delicious. While some may think that wrapping the burger entirely in bacon is too much, it provided the ideal bacon-burger flavor combination that we're looking for every time we order a bacon cheeseburger, and this time, we didn't have to worry about our bacon falling off our burger. Between the two, one never outdid the other, and with garnishes like tomato, red onion, and lettuce, there was a much needed taste of freshness that balanced out the saltiness of the bacon and the juiciness of the burger.

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We wouldn't suggest making this burger for dinner every night. Heck, it might be smart to limit yourself to one every other month this summer. But when you're in the mood and are ready to go for it, this is how you make the ultimate bacon-wrapped burger.

It All Starts with the Burger
This epic journey all begins with a burger, and we used a quarter-pound ground beef patty that was about 1/2-inch thick. This may be obvious, but it's worth saying anyway: there is plenty of fat in this recipe because of the bacon, so there's no need to overdo it with the burger. Try to get a leaner blend of ground beef for your patty. We went with 96 percent lean, 4 percent fat. Before you get started, sprinkle your burger with a little pepper and sea salt to make sure it is well seasoned.

The Bacon
When you first thought of a bacon-wrapped burger, you probably wondered how it was possible to weave thick, wide slices of bacon over a burger. You were right to wonder - it's not possible. To prep our bacon strips for the basket weave, we cut them in half lengthwise so that they were thin enough to work with. Look for the longest bacon available at the store so that it will fit around your burger, and by no means buy center-cut bacon. For this recipe, we used applewood-smoked bacon, but feel free to use your favorite variety. In total, you'll need five whole slices of bacon, cut in half. Start by laying five cut strips of bacon out on the cutting board to begin your basket weave.

Sewing Skills
Once you've got your five strips laid out, you can start by weaving the other five in and out of them. For sewers, you'll know this method as basket weave - where the bacon strips are alternately weaved into the bottom five in at a perpendicular angle. As your bacon basket-weaving progresses, you'll want to make sure to tighten up your work and make sure all of the strips are tightly weaved together and centered so that each strip is equal in length.

Planting the Burger
To add the burger into the equation, place the patty in the center of the basket weave. The patty might be wider than the actual weave of bacon, so you'll have to use your hands to compress it enough to fit on top of the weaved part of the bacon.

Aligning the Slices
To start weaving the other side, bring one set of five strips up over the burger on the top and bottom so that they're aligned and their ends are touching.

More Basket Weave
Now you can start weaving the perpendicular set of bacon slices into the burger. This part of the process is not as easy at the first basket weave, because you'll have to lift slices and tuck others into each other so that it not only looks presentable but stays together.

After you've weaved your bacon together on the underside of the burger, you'll want to do some housekeeping to make sure all of the bacon is perfectly tucked and presentable. This part is messy, and you're going to get meat and bacon fat under your fingernails - fair warning.

Preheating the Grill
You're going to want a nicely preheated grill before you place your burger on the grill. The temperature of the grill will depend on the temperature you want your burger to be. For a rare burger, you'll want to do a higher heat for a shorter time; this allows you to cook the bacon well enough without overcooking the burger. For a medium-rare burger, cook on lower heat for a longer amount of time, which will ensure that the burger is cooked longer without overcooking the bacon. Place the burger on the grill with its underside facing down first. This is the weaker part of your masterpiece, so you'll want to sear it together before cooking the other side.

Flipping the Burger
After about 10 to 15 minutes (depending on what temperature you're cooking your burger to), you're ready to flip the burger. Never, at any point, try to flip the burger before at least five minutes of cooking on its underside, to ensure that it's seared together well. Immediately after flipping the burger, cover it and let it cook for five to 6 minutes. This is done to ensure that the burger is getting an ample amount of cooking heat, and to give the bacon a boost in cooking, as well.

Crisp It Up
After letting it cook covered for a few minutes, cook the burger uncovered for the last five to 10 minutes. The reason you don't want to cook the burger covered for too long is because the moisture from all of the bacon's fat (and the burger's) will make the bacon moist and prevent it from getting crispy.

Finishing It Off
After about 20 to 30 minutes, your bacon-wrapped burger should be cooked to perfection. Unfortunately, there's no cheating with a fork and knife with this recipe, so you'll have to trust your fingers and an inserted internal thermometer to ensure that it's cooked all the way through. We recommend the latter.

The Ultimate Bacon-Wrapped Burger Recipe
- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate bacon-wrapped burger. This isn't just some burger with one slice of bacon wrapped around its sides, but it's a perfectly weaved and wrapped bacon burger, cooked to perfection both inside and out.

• One 1/4-pound patty of ground beef, 96 percent lean, 4 percent fat
• 5 slices bacon, cut in half lengthwise
• 1 sesame seed bun
• Garnishes such as a tomato slice, red onion slices, and lettuce
• Potato chips, for serving
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Season the burger patty with salt and pepper, to taste. Lay 5 halved slices of bacon out on a workstation vertically. Basket-weave the other 5 slices with the 5 on the workstation, making sure the weave is centered and each piece of bacon is equal in length.

Place the seasoned patty on top of the weave, using your hands to compress the patty so that it does not go beyond the bacon. Starting with the vertical-facing slices, pull each end up and over the patty so that they meet in the middle. Begin weaving the horizontal slices into the vertical ones, lifting some slices and tucking the ends into others so that it resembles a near-perfect basket weave and it stays together well. Season both sides of the bacon-wrapped patty with a little bit of pepper.

Preheat the grill.

For a medium-rare burger: Preheat the grill to about 325 degrees. Add the burger, weaker side down, onto the grill and leave untouched until the bottom part has been seared together and the bacon is a crisp golden brown, about 15 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. Uncover, and let the burger cook until both sides of the bacon-wrapped burger are golden brown and crisp, and the burger is cooked through and an internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 10 minutes more.

For a rare burger: Preheat the grill to about 350 degrees. Add the burger, weaker side down, onto the grill and leave untouched until the bottom part has been seared together and the bacon is a crisp golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. Uncover, and let the burger cook until both sides of the bacon-wrapped burger are golden brown and crisp, and the burger is cooked through and an internal temperature reaches 120-130 degrees, about 5 more minutes.

Using tongs, turn the burger and place it on a new part of the grill, searing off the bacon on the sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Remove the burger from the grill and blot the bacon with a paper towel (optional). Place on a bun and top with a slice of tomato, a few red onion slices, and lettuce. Add potato chips, if you dare.

Servings: 1

- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal