This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
This is quite possibly the most over-the-top burger ever—a double cheeseburger with bacon and caramelized onions between two grilled cheese sandwiches. I make them by request whenever I visit my brother-in-law’s cottage. Because these burgers are pure beef, without any binders or extra ingredients, I strongly recommend that you don’t cook them directly on the grill or they will fall apart. If you don’t have a flat-top griddle or cast iron pan, get one: laid right over your grill, it will give you the nice smoky barbecue flavour without losing all the juices to the fire below and drying out the meat. These burgers are really juicy, so have lots of napkins on hand, or just plan to go for a swim after dinner. — Johnny Prassoulis, founder, owner, and chef at Holy Chuck, Toronto
The Cowlorie Burger
2 lbs ground beef, ideally 20% fat
(see Pro Tips, p. 82)
2 lbs white sweet Spanish onion
2/3 cup (1/3 lb) butter (for onions)
8 slices bacon
8 white hamburger buns
Extra melted butter for buttering bread
24 slices of yellow American cheese
1. Form beef balls: make 8 balls (about 3½ oz each) by hand, a little less firm than when making meatballs. Be firm with your balls, but not too firm! (If you can’t avoid cooking them directly on the grill, you’ll want to add 2 eggs and 2 cups of breadcrumbs to the recipe.)
2. Caramelize the onions. Slice them thin, and don’t be shy with the butter.
3. Cook your bacon till crispy or however you prefer it.
4. Assemble your grilled cheese buns. (Essentially these are grilled cheese, but on buns turned inside out.) Butter the insides of the buns generously with softened butter, and sandwich two slices of cheese between the crusty sides of each bun. Keep the sandwiches in the bag so they don’t dry out. When ready, grill them on the griddle until they are golden brown on both sides and melted.
5. To cook the patties, heat up your griddle or cast iron pan over the grill until quite hot (drops of water disappear right away), then press down your balls of beef in the pan, and flatten with a spatula until they are approximately a half-inch thick. Salt generously. Depending on how you like your burgers done, it should take approximately 1–1½ minutes per side. When you flip the burgers, they should have a nice dark-brown crust (if your patties are swimming in water and not getting much of a crust, then turn the heat up; if they’re burning, turn it down).
6. Add a slice of cheese to all patties, and let it warm slightly. Add bacon and caramelized onions to half of the patties. When your patties are ready, place the ones with the bacon and onions on top of the patties with cheese only, and then serve between two of your grilled cheese buns.
Makes 4 burgers.