Cheddar Burger with Candied Bacon and Brisket Jus Mayo
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This burger that we made for dinner last night was amazing. It boasted a big half-pound beef patty laced with mild cheddar, topped with candied bacon, sliced fresh Grainger County tomato, greenery, and a ridiculously good brisket jus mayo.
Brisket jus is the delicious, gelatinous nectar that is left in the foil after wrapping a brisket. It comes from the magic of breaking down the connective tissues during the long cook and turns it into something intensely flavored and velvety in texture. Adding it to mayonnaise creates a killer condiment or dipping sauce.
This is the gelatin formed by the beef jus when I left the whole brisket in the fridge overnight. It's a cheat code for beefilicious flavor.
I realize most folks aren't going to have brisket jus sitting in their fridge. I haven't tried it yet, but I think you could probably substitute one of those concentrated Knorr Beef Stock gel packs. Mix it with some mayo and adjust the flavor with some finely ground beef rub if necessary.
I used some of my home-cured and home-smoked Sorghum and Bourbon Bacon for the candied bacon.
Cheddar Burger with Candied Bacon and Brisket Jus Mayo
1 teaspoon NMT Southern Sweet or another sweet BBQ rub
2 pounds ground chuck or your favorite burger grind
2 ounces medium cheddar, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely ground NMT Beef Rub v.2 or another beef rub
4 onion rolls
1/2 cup Duke's Mayonnaise
1/4 cup beef brisket jus, other beef jus, or Knorr Beef Concentrated Homestyle Stock*
1 large beefsteak style tomato, washed and sliced
lettuce, spring mix, or other greenery
Preheat the grill. Set the grill up for indirect heat and preheat to 250-300°f.
Make the candied bacon. Toss the bacon strips in a bag and sprinkle in the brown sugar and BBQ rub. Shake vigorously to coat the bacon. Place on a rack on a smoker at 250-300°f until cooked through and darkened, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. It won't turn crispy until you take it off and allow it to cool, so go by the color, not the texture, or you'll burn your bacon.
Make the brisket jus mayo. If your jus is still liquid, you can just whisk it into the mayo. Mine had turned to gel in the fridge, so I put it into a mini-food processor for a quick whirl to blend it.
Make the burger patties. Break up the ground chuck and mix in the shredded cheese so that it is evenly distributed. Form into four 8-ounce patties and keep refrigerated until ready to grill.
Toast the buns. Change your grill to direct heat and increase the heat to 450°f. Place the buns cut side down and cook until toasted golden brown. Remove from heat.
Grill the burgers. Grill the patties for 4 minutes. Flip and immediately season with the finely ground beef rub. Cook the burgers until they reach medium-well (internal temperature above 140°f), about 4 more minutes. Remove from heat. Note: I'm fine with medium-rare burgers if I ground the beef myself, but I cook store-bought ground meat to medium-well.
Assemble the burgers. Place greens on top of the bottom bun, then the patty, a slice or two of fresh tomato, 3 to 4 pieces of bacon, and slather a good bit of the brisket jus mayo on the top bun. Enjoy!
Yield: 4 big honkin' burgers
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Cook time: 1 hrs. 20 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 50 mins.
My weapon of choice for this cook was my Oklahoma Joe's Bronco drum smoker. I've used this cooker for 2 years and enjoy it for its steady temps, flexible setups, and compact footprint.
Because I wanted indirect heat to start with, I had the fire bowl in the lower position, and a heat deflector went between this and the food, similar to a kamado grill. For a charcoal grill, just build a fire to one side and put the food on the empty side. For a gas grill, place the food over a burner that isn't turn on or is turned on low. The piece of wood is a compressed applewood chunk from Mojobricks. I wanted to give the candied bacon a good dose of smoke.
The small resting rack and pan just keeps things cleaning. Make sure you flip the bacon every 15-20 minutes during the cook and once or twice as they cool. That way, they won't stick to the rack.
I like chunks instead of shredded cheese because the shredded cheese sometimes almost disappears. The chunks just get melty and glorious.
I use the Ballistic BBQ Smasher to make my burger patties. I have the 6-ounce plus size for big burgers and just bought the 3-ounce size for smash burgers. They are one-piece stainless steel, so they are sturdy and clean easily.
Now THAT'S a big honkin' burger patty.
Look at that delicious brisket gelatin! The brisket jus mayo is fantastic on the burgers, but it is also tasty as a dipping sauce for fries.
For the sear part, I raised the fire bowl to the upper position. It sits on the inverted heat shield, so it's in the right spot for grilling.
[insert generic "toasting my buns, hur hur" joke here]
Seriously though, toast those buns. It's a flavor and texture thing.
Time to grill some thick burgers!
Seasoning the burgers during the cook instead of before just makes sure that the salt doesn't dry out the burger and make it dense.
I grill and smoke all year, but my favorite time is grilling in the late evening sunlight during the Summer.
Toasted onion roll loaded with that delicious, luscious brisket jus mayo.
Cheddar burger with candied bacon and brisket jus mayo - absolutely fanfreakingtastic.