Makes 8 sliders
1 lb ground beef, preferably organic and 80/20
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp garlic salt
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, preferably organic
3 pepper colby jack cheese, 8 small slices (or 4 large slices, available at the deli)
1 cup brown mushrooms, sliced
2 cups arugula
8 whole wheat dinner rolls, about 3 inches in diameter (available in the bakery section of most grocery stores)
2-3 tbsp butter, melted
4 long bamboo skewers, cut in half, or 8 short skewers
1) Slice rolls in half and set aside on a large plate or platter with arugula and cheese.
2) Mix ground beef with the herbs and spices in a small bowl using your hands. When the spices are evenly mixed throughout the ground beef, form 8 patties about 4 inches in size and place them on a large plate.
2) Cook bacon in a skillet until it’s browned on each side and remove to a plate covered with paper towels. Break each slice into 4 equal pieces.
3) Cook the mushrooms in the same skillet (without emptying the bacon grease) on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove to a small bowl.
4) Heat a grill pan or large skillet on medium high heat. When it’s hot, place the patties on the pan. Press the patties with a spatula occasionally as they cook to keep them from swelling up. Flip the burgers when they’re about half way cooked on the bottom side. After they burgers are cooked to your liking, place them on the large plate again (this time covered with a paper towel.) Place the slices of cheese on the patties and then put the burgers in the oven or microwaave to keep warm while you prepare the buns.
5) Brush the melted butter on the top and bottom (insides) of the buns and place them butter side down on the hot grill pan. Press down on the tops and let them cook for about 1-2 minutes. Place them back on the platter when they’re browned on the bottoms.
6) To plate the burgers, place the bottom bun on the platter, then add a burger patty topped with cheese, 3-4 mushrooms, 2 pieces of bacon, arugula, and the top of the bun. Stick a skewer through the middle to secure the slider. Repeat with the rest of the burgers and serve warm and fresh.
Adjust oven rack to center and bottom positions, place a 12-inch cast iron skillet on the bottom rack, and preheat oven to 400°F.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place six slices of bacon on baking sheet side to side running perpendicular to the edge of the counter. Fold down the top halves of 1st, 3rd, and 5th slices. Place a slice of bacon across the top of the folds, running perpendicular to the first 6 slices, then unfold the bacon so that the new slice is woven over and under every other slice. Fold down the 2nd, 4th, and 6th slices and lay another slice of bacon across the top of the fold. Unfold the slices. Repeat until all 12 slices of bacon have been laid on the baking sheet in an interwoven pattern. Place baking sheet in oven and cook until bacon is crisp, about 25 minutes.
While bacon cooks, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Form ground beef into 4 (6-ounce) patties slightly wider than the buns. Press the center of each patty to make a slight indentation with your fingertips. Season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Set aside.
When bacon is cooked, remove baking sheet from oven and set broiler to high. Pour off excess bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, being careful not to break it. Allow to drain for 30 seconds, then transfer to cutting board. Cut the bacon weave into four smaller squares and set aside.
Pour 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat into mayonnaise mixture and stir to combine. Brush hamburger rolls on inside surfaces with bacon fat and place on a broiler pan or baking sheet brushed-side up.
Remove cast iron skillet from oven using oven mitts or a folded kitchen towel. Place over medium-high heat. Add remaining bacon fat to skillet. Add burger patties and cook, turning occasionally, until well-crusted and center of each burger registers 120°F on an instant read thermometer. Top with cheese and continue cooking until cheese is melted and burgers register 125°F for medium rare or 135°F for medium. Transfer to a large plate.
Add onions to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Place burger buns under broiler while onions cook and broil until golden brown and toasted, about 2 minutes.
Spread mayonnaise mixture on both sides of burger buns. Place 3 pickles on each bottom bun. Top with a burger patty, a pile of onions, and a square of bacon weave. Close buns and serve.
Burger & Fries
Burger & Waffle Fries @ T-Rex Cafe in Orlando, FL