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This is no ordinary burger, in fact, it is quite possibly the best burger I have ever had.  I know, it is a bold statement, but one spoken from the stomach heart.  We make burgers once a month or so, usually as an easy dinner.  That is how this meal began, as an answer to what to make for dinner that would be easy, popular, and satisfying.  That was all well and good, until I got it in my head that I could make everything from scratch. Oh, and add bacon to the beef.  Whoa.

After we picked up a meat grinder attachment for our Kitchenaide, we discovered the magic of burgers made with freshly ground meat.  This burger includes not only beef chuck roast, but also a very special not-so-secret ingredient, bacon!  This was a perfect use for some bacon ends we had from our piggy in the freezer.  Using a ration of 4 parts beef to 1 part bacon, I ground the two meats with the course grinding plate.  After lightly tossing them to mix, I loosely formed them into patties.  I pressed the meat just enough so they would hold together on the grill, but so there were still some small air spaces between the meat pieces.  This gives a place for the juices and fat to collect (did I mention this is not a low-fat meal).  Grilled over medium high and plopped on a fresh toasted bun, these burgers taste amazing.  The bacon flavor is strong enough to make itself known, without being overpowering.  The best part is that unlike a burger topped with slices of bacon, the bacon does not slide out of the bun as you try to bite through it.  The flavors of the beef and bacon are perfectly blended.  And then there is the bun…

This recipe came from King Arthur Bread.  They were so good that my son declared, “Mom, these are CRAZY.  I never want to buy buns again.” (I love that my kids love to eat!)  The recipe uses an egg and some butter, so the buns are very tender and hold together well under the pressure of the burger and condiments.  They browned up beautifully and some extra butter brushed over the top yields a very tender top, making it easy to bite into the burger.   They came together very quickly and rose through the day.  The recipe makes 8 buns large enough for 1/4 pound burgers or bigger. This is enough for two meals for my family, so I froze half of the buns for another dinner.  You could also make the buns smaller and use them for sliders.  They would be delicious with pulled pork.  Mmmmm…  We will definitely make these again.

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Southwestern Chicken Burger

February 8, 2011

Burgers are good…really good. They are the kind of quick dinner that never seems like a cop out.  I can spend 30 minutes cooking dinner and everyone is thrilled.  We like to eat all kinds of burgers, experimenting with different types of meat: beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, and  many different flavor combinations.  When cooking up burgers with chicken or turkey, I mix in egg, bread crumbs, and herbs, all which help keep the burgers moist.   This burger recipe is one of our favorites.

Southwestern Chicken Burgers are super moist and flavorful.  The mild taste of the ground chicken allows the garlic, cilantro, green onion, and spices to do their magic.  This burger is packed with flavor and is sure to delight even the most die-hard beef burger fans. Layer the toasted buns with spicy, smokey chipotle mayonnaise and Caramelized Onion Relish. If you don’t have a grill, these burgers would be equally tasty cooked up in a skillet with a little olive oil.

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