I may not be a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, but I’m pretty confident I have conquered a good number of moderately challenging recipes. My risotto is on point, I can butterfly and truss pork tenderloin, and my holiday turkey recipe is out of this world. What’s exciting, though, is that there are many, many things I have yet to master.
Growing up, I was always willing to help in the kitchen but the one area I knew better than to mess with was burgers. It’s pretty common to come across a man of the house who considers himself “burger king”, is quick with a spatula, and can be found at the grill more than the stove. My dad is no different; he knows his grill as if it was his trade and his outdoor cooking area seems like a culinary sanctuary. Located on my parents’ deck, it’s nestled in a special corner with a few chairs overlooking their nicely landscaped garden. Surrounded by tiki torches to ward off any pesky insect intruders, my dad’s shiny, stainless steel grill is conveniently away from the back door and kitchen windows, making his cooking area more of a peaceful place than our busy family kitchen.
The serenity of my dad’s cooking space may have something to do with how great his grilled food is. Steaks and chicken are always delicious but his burgers are the best. Perfectly cooked, the meat is juicy and seasoned just enough. There’s nothing fancy about them, but that’s part of their appeal; they don’t need special sauces or secret spices to grant him the well-deserved “burger king” title in our household. I’m in no position to attempt to steal the crown, but I felt it was time to add burgers to my list of accomplishments. This recipe for breakfast burgers may be no match for my dad’s, but I can bet he would be proud.
4 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup, tomato paste
1 teaspoon, ground coriander
½ teaspoon, ground red pepper
1 teaspoon, paprika
1 Tablespoon, molasses
2 lbs of ground beef
1 lb, of bacon
8 eggs, fried
With skin still on cloves, place garlic in small pan over medium heat. Turn occasionally until garlic softens. Remove from heat and allow to cool before removing skin and coarsely chopping. Place in a small pan with tomato paste, spices and molasses. Stir over medium heat until mixture is thoroughly combined; allow to cool. Meanwhile, place 4 strips of bacon in a food processor and pulse until ground. Cook remaining bacon for burger topping. In a large bowl, gently mix by hand ground beef, ground bacon and tomato mixture. Form into 8 patties and cook on a hot grill or pan on stove-top, approximately 8 to 10 minutes each side. Remove from grill and serve topped with a fried egg and slices of bacon on a toasted roll.
It may be true that these breakfast burgers don’t compare to my dad’s magic on the grill, but they’re extremely moist, flavorful and a really great excuse to have a burger for breakfast. The meat is just gently flavored by the spices to the point that they are ever-so-slightly present with each bite. The tomato paste and molasses sweeten the meat and help to form the dark brown coating that greets you first when you bite into the patty. Though I prefer my burgers cooked medium, I grilled these a little longer but there was no need to worry about charred, dry meat; the ground bacon in the beef adds moisture and the signature smoky flavor it well known for. With more crunchy bacon on top and dressed with a fried egg, this burger might be the true breakfast of champions.
I’m not claiming to be “burger queen” but I feel comfortable saying this recipe is the beginning of my road to mastering meat patties. These may be breakfast burgers, but that shouldn’t limit them to only being served in the morning. With the Labor Day holiday coming up, there’s no better occasion to retreat to your peaceful grilling place and flip some breakfast burgers. Hopefully my dad is willing to share the grill with me.