A lot of things have happened since the late 19th century. In 130 years, we have changed the course of mankind several times over. And by all accounts, that’s about how long we have known about the beef burger. Regardless of who first came up with that strange idea of putting a ground beef patty between two slices of bread, I doubt they ever envisioned the kind of culinary juggernaut it would one day become. Today, the beef burger is the definition of fast food. It still serves the purpose it was meant to serve all those years ago; a quick meal for those who have little time to prepare one in a world that moved along ever faster. All those trimmings/toppings came later, with more sophisticated palates and bigger appetites.
While burger perfection is probably always going to be an illusion, there’s a lot you can do to improve on what you have. Recently on a Saturday, while watching a Basketball game on TV with a cold one in his hands, Mr K turned to me and asked me what was my idea of a perfect hamburger. I often make chicken burgers that we both love, but this time he challenged me to go even bigger and more flavourful on a beef burger. The result was this Big Boys’ Beef Burger, a super spicy beef burger with beer & jalapeno cheese, spicy candied bacon and chimichurri mayonnaise! There’s beef, there’s bacon, there’s heat and there’s beer. And it’s big. That’s pretty close to perfection in our humble opinion.
There are 3 recipes in this post. I know that sounds a bit overwhelming and I do apologize for that. But feel free to leave out whatever you don’t like and adjust the spice and heat levels to suit your preferences. Here you will find the recipes for the beef burger patty, the jalapeno and beer cheese and the chimichurri mayonnaise. There is a link to my spicy candied bacon recipe too, where you will find a spicy version and also a less spicy version.
Mr K was right. On game day with a cold one in your hands, there’s nothing better than a sloppy succulent beef burger! He challenged me to make it big because you know, he’s like a python whose jaws come unhinged when there’s a giant burger making its way towards that black hole that is his mouth. Hence the two patties, but feel free to go with one if that’s how you like it. These burger patties are not particularly thick though as you can see and you can cook them to your liking. These were cooked to medium, which was about a minute per each side.
So first things first, the beer and jalapeno cheese is AMAZING! The beer taste comes through really well here. I used my favourite beer for this, so you can use whichever is your favourite. The trick is to reduce the liquid so as to intensify the beer flavour. While this takes away the boozy punch, the flavour will still be strong.
Since the idea was to go big on flavour, why not kick it up a notch with the mayonnaise too? So I made a super flavourful mayonnaise with lots of herbs. You can make the chimichurri and then mix it in with your favourite mayonnaise as an easier option, or follow my recipe to make the chimichurri mayonnaise from scratch. Whatever floats your boat, as long as it takes you to flavour town, right?
I did make my own burger buns too. I really love the burger bun recipe from Not without Salt’s cookbook – Date Night In. I think I may never buy burger buns again! They are that good. So go ahead and use your favourite burger bun; store-bought or home-made. Either way is completely fine.
- 1 lb ground chuck beef
- 1-2 tbsp ground pepper (less if you like it less spicy)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp chilli powder (less if you like it less spicy)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp salt (plus more to taste after the beef patty is grilled)
- 1 cup of beer (choose a beer that you like to drink)
- 3 oz sharp cheddar, grated
- 3 oz pepper-jack, grated
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp paprika
- Milk or cream (a few tablespoons if needed)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10g cilantro (if you don't like cilantro you can use only parsley instead)
- 30g parsley
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp crushed chilli
- ½ clove of garlic
- ¾ cup oil
- 1 egg yolk
- salt to taste
- or 1 cup of mayonnaise instead of the oil and egg yolk.
- Mix all the spices in a small bowl and sprinkle it all over the ground beef.
- With “loose” fingers (keeping all your fingers spread out), gently toss the ground beef to mix in the spices. You do not want to over handle the meat.
- Leave to marinade for a few hours if you can, but it can be used right away too.
- Divide the beef into 4 portions (4 oz each) and gently flatten them out into patties with a 4-5 inch diameter. With your thumb press down gently in the middle of the patty to create “a dimple” on each patty.
- Heat a grill or non-stick pan on medium- high heat. Brush the surface with some oil (especially if you are using lean meat).
- Cook each burger patty on medium - high heat (you should hear a good sizzle), for 1 minute per side. Lightly sprinkle salt on the uncooked side.
- Flip the burger and immediately place a portion of the beer and jalapeno cheese on top and cover the burger with a lid to allow the cheese to melt for 1 to 1 and a half minutes. As these burger patties are relatively thin, they cook very quickly, without drying out. Please see note.
- When the burger is cooked through, place it on a plate to rest for a few minutes.
- In a saucepan, place the 1 cup of beer and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat allowing the beer to reduce to about a ⅓ of a cup.
- Mix the cheese, cornflour and paprika in a bowl. Add the cheese mix into the beer and allow the cheese to melt smoothly. If needed add a little milk or cream.
- Fold in the jalapeno pieces and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it cool down, and divide into four portions to use on the burgers.
- In a small food processor combine the cilantro, parsley, garlic, chilli and balsamic vinegar and pulse until the herbs are chopped finely. You can chop the herbs before adding to the processor to make the mixing easier, depending on what type of food processor you have.
- Add the yolk to the herb mix and mix it well.
- While the processor is running, add ½ a cup of oil in a thin stream until you have an emulsified thick mayonnaise like paste. If needed add the rest of the oil in a thin stream to get the right mayonnaise consistency.
- Add salt to taste.
- Please see note on mayonnaise.
- Keep in an airtight bottle in the fridge but use within 4 days.
- Place 2 burger patties on the bottom burger bun and top them with spicy candied bacon, tomatoes, onions, pickles and lettuce.
- Generously spread the chimichurri mayonnaise on the top burger and place it on top of all the toppings.
- Serve with your favourite beer and fries!
Note on Mayonnaise - If your food processor is too big to make 1 yolk mayonnaise, you can use a hand held beater with a whisk attachment. Make sure you whisk the egg and oil together in a deep and narrow "bowl" (I use a wide glass or jug), to make the mixture swirl naturally with the whisk making the whisking and mixing easier.
The burger patties have an incredible juicy, spicy kick and the chimichurri mayonnaise and spicy candied bacon only add to it. You also have the distinct malt flavour of beer coming through well in the cheese. I topped my beef burger patties with crunchy beet pickle (an homage to a preference acquired while living in Australia) and Mr K had his with dill pickles. Whatever pickle you choose it’s going to add a fantastic fresh, crunchy flavour and texture.
There’s beef, there’s bacon, there’s beer, there’s heat, and so much flavour. And it’s big. Now that’s a big boys’ beef burger! So what’s your idea of a perfect burger? I’d love to know!
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