When your husband challenges you to a burger battle you can do 1 of 2 things: You can either accept, win and be easy on him or you can accept, win, and crush him to smithereens. I chose the latter.
This isn’t to say Jason’s burger wasn’t good though– in fact it was rather tasty, with the ham + beef + bacon combo plus southwest sauce and savory pretzel bun. What impressed me the most was his inclination to make homemade french fries– a feat that I rarely partook in because of the time and effort required to create a perfect fry. Yet he moved with ease in the kitchen in total control; it was something that I was really surprised to see knowing that he didn’t cook often. Everything in this burger was his invention from the sauce to the beef to the fries. And it really seemed to work together: the end result was quite delicious.
Whenever I order a burger it must always have a fried egg, no exception. And so when I began brainstorming on what burger to build, the fried egg was the starting point and everything else ebbed from there. I kept gravitating towards bacon, with some sort of sweet glaze on top, and when maple syrup popped in my head the breakfast burger idea began to take shape. My patty is a mixture of beef and spicy Andouille sausage, sauced with a spicy chipotle mayo and held together with softly toasted challah buns. The maple-glazed bacon tucked inside gives the burger a slight sweet taste and contrasts against the spiciness of the sauce.
After trying both burgers, Jason declared a tie and I agreed…but just between you + me, I think I killed it this year. :-p
Jason’s Ham Burger with Southwest Sauce + Hand-cut French Fries
Makes 2 delicious hammy burgers
1/2 pound ground chuck beef
S + P
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
2 slices cooked bacon, broken in half
2 slices smoked deli ham
2 slices American cheese
2 pretzel hamburger buns, toasted slightly
French fries, to serve alongside– Jason used this recipe as a guide but opted for Yukon Gold’s instead of Russet potatoes. Yield 1 potato per person.
If you’re making the french fries, start these now. They take some time to prepare, soak, and fry. Keep them warm in a low oven until ready to eat.
In a small bowl gently combine the beef, s + p, yellow onion, and red pepper flakes until just mixed. Form into 2 flat patties, remembering that when they cook they will shrink and puff up in the middle, so press down flatter than you think and make a slight indentation in the center to allow for “poofage.” Cover and put in the fridge.
Make the southwest dipping sauce; cover and put in the fridge too. Get the grill ready. Or, if you don’t have one or don’t want to deal with it, these can grill up just fine indoors on a medium-sized fry pan slicked with oil.
Place the patties onto a grill (or pan) and cook to your preference– we cooked them until about medium, 5-6 minutes per side. During the last minute of cooking, place a slice of ham and American cheese on each and cover with lid to melt. Toast pretzel buns until slightly golden brown, a mere 30 seconds.
To assemble, schmear southwest sauce on bottom of bun and perch ham + cheese burger patty on top, then the bacon strips (2 halves), romaine lettuce, and top bun (also slathered with southwest sauce). Serve hot with the french fries and ketchup, if desired.
Steph’s Breakfast Burger with Chipotle Mayonnaise + Maple-glazed Bacon Chips
Makes 2 messy as sin burgers
1/4 pound ground round beef
1 link fresh ground Andouille sausage
S + P
2 fried over easy eggs, seasoned with s + p
2 challah rolls, cut in half, slathered with butter and seasoned with s + p; toasted
4 slices Camembert cheese
Baby spinach greens blend
6 slices bacon
Really good maple syrup, to glaze
1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon canned chipotle in adobo sauce, pureed
In a small bowl combine the ground round and ground Andouille sausage, casing removed until just mixed. Form into 2 flat patties, remembering that when they cook they will shrink and puff up in the middle, so press down flatter than you think and make a slight indentation in the center to allow for “poofage.” Wait to season with s + p until just ready to cook. Cover and put in the fridge.
Make the chipotle mayo by mixing together the mayonnaise and blitzed chipotle. Cover and put in the fridge to chill.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon onto a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Take bacon out and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Drain baking sheet of bacon fat, reserving some for the fried eggs + burgers. Put the bacon back onto the baking sheet and brush with maple syrup on each. Place them back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until crunchy. Let cool slightly before cutting 2 of the bacon strips into halves (for the burgers) and cutting the rest into random “chip” shapes to serve alongside. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to eat.
Fry the eggs over easy and keep warm. Toast challah buns.
Take the burger patties out of the fridge and season generously with s + p on each side. In a small fry pan add about 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat plus 1 tablespoon butter. Add the burger patties and cook until just cooked through, basting with the bacon fat/butter occasionally. Flip the burger and right before it’s done, add the slices of Camembert cheese and cover to allow for meltage. Remove patties and put on a plate.
To assemble, slather chipotle mayo on both sides of challah buns, decorate bottom bun with baby spinach greens, put burger patty on top, add 2 bacon halves, fried egg, then top half of the bun. Serve hot with maple-glazed bacon chippies.