Want to try something a little different for dinner? Interested in a burger that is juicy and flavorful but not red meat? With an hour and a few tools this beauty can be yours to impress even the snobbiest of burger eaters!
Step 1: Prep and Ingredients
There are a few things you will need for this recipe.
Step 2: Make Your Burgers
Flavor and Moisture Base
Use your food processor to chop the mushrooms and onions into a very fine mince. Cook these in your skillet until somewhat dry. There should be no more moisture coming from the mixture. When fully cooked and somewhat browned put it in a mixing bowl to cool slightly. If the paste burns to the bottom of the pan remove what you can into the bowl. Return the skillet to heat and dump in your Worcestershire sauce. It will bubble furiously, giving you a minute to scrape all the flavorful browned bits off of the pan. Use a rubber scraper to ensure this all goes into the bowl. Add garlic to the warm paste and mix.
If you do not have a food processor cut both the onion and mushrooms into very small and equal pieces. They should be approximately sesame seed sized.
Mix in Your Meat
Burgers are notorious for becoming dry, and pork only compounds the problem. The onions and mushrooms will help in this situation. When you can touch your veggie mixture with your bare hands mix in your pork. Now is an excellent time to salt and pepper your burgers to taste. Wash your hands extra well and get in there mixing it like you're combining play dough. Make sure all of the mixture is even with no large areas of just pork or just veggies.
Portion Your Burgers
Form your meat into a somewhat regular shape, such as a square. Use the side of your hands to portion the meat into 4 equal parts. Take each chunk and form them into a patty with your hands, making sure to make a slight indent in the center. Be gentle and patient, burgers will fall apart with little encouragement. You may use a burger press for this step if you would prefer.
Chill Your Burgers
Into the refrigerator they go! This is as much technique as it is food safety. Cold burgers stay together better when cooking and grow less bacteria than when left on the counter. While the time the burgers are at room temperature is negligible as far as bacterial growth you did just mush your skin, a tropical germ island, into ground meat. Better safe with intact burgers than sorry.
If you are grilling your burgers pop them into the freezer for added protection against high heat.
Step 3: Cook Some Bacon
Find some bacon you enjoy. Cook it to your desired texture. Tonight I cooked it in a pan to a medium chew. The oven works well, as does a griddle.
Drain your cooked slices of bacon on a plate with a paper towel. We cooked a whole package but that is optional.
Save Your Drippings
Do it. Save them. You will need some later and bacon fat is amazing for everything. Potatoes, eggs, veggies, gravy, the possibilities are near endless. If you are saving it long term, put it in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Get Creative (Optional)
Spice it up! Pepper bacon? Pepper Bacon.
Kitchen Safety (Not Optional)
For the love of your dermis remember that bacon fat is hot, your skin is not, and bacon will spit if cooked at too high temps. Use tongs, wear long sleeves, don't stick your face in the pan. This pan is nonstick so the heat never goes above medium, which is 340-365F on my range. If your bacon is curling your pan is too hot and your chance of burns is high.
Step 4: Condiments
Assemble Your Condiments!
Tonight we are using a tried and true cajun mayo. Take about a half cup of mayo with about a tablespoon of your favorite cajun seasoning and mix vigorously. This combination takes at least 30 minutes to hydrate well. The further ahead it is prepared the better it will taste.
We use Penzeys Cajun because it is salt free and has a lot of flavor. Use whatever you prefer.
Or Whatever You Like
Don't like mayo? There is a whole world of condiments out there. Keep it simple and delicious.
Step 5: Prep Your Pan For Burgers
Drain any remaining grease from your skillet. Take a paper towel and your tongs. Wipe any left over bits from the pan. Bits left may burn and give the burgers an off flavor.
Grease Your Pan
Use 2 teaspoons of reserved bacon fat to coat your pan. Heat pan on a medium heat to ~350F.
Step 6: Burger Time: Excellent
Burgers into Prepared Pan
Put the burgers into your hot and greased pan. Make sure not to crowd the pan, as a crowded pan will steam the burgers. Steamed burgers do not brown, and brown is where flavor lives.
After 2-5 minutes you should start to see the sides of the burger turn the pale color of cooked pork. This is your moment. Check the underside of the burger. If it is browned nicely, flip it.
Turn your heat down. I included a picture of my dial to give you an idea of my "medium- low". This ensures the burgers reach the proper temperature without burning. A finished burger should be above 160F. If you turn your back and they get into the 180 range don't worry, the mushrooms and onions will keep your burger extra moist.
When your burgers get to about 140 feel free to turn the heat back up to medium to ensure a proper browning on the second side.
Seriously, temp your burgers. Use the most accurate thermometer you have access to, and temp in the very center of the burger working toward the edges.
Step 7: Assemble and Enjoy
Put Your Burger on Your Bun
We toasted our buns and melted some cheese. With the addition of a little cajun mayo and a few slices of the bacon perfect, flavorful, juicy burgers were had.
Make your burger in whatever fashion you enjoy, after all that is the whole point of cooking.