This is my version of an over the top hamburger. It starts with good quality fresh ground beef. It could be Wagyu Beef, or it could be a mixture of sirloin and chuck, whatever you think is heaven on a bun. Speaking of a bun, it should be buttered and toasted on your grill. I think it should be a hearty bread so it can stand up to your hunk of beef, but not chewy otherwise your burger will fall apart when you try to bite into it. So your bread choice is important. Also how you assemble the hamburger is important as well. We will go through that in a moment after I talk about the main accompaniments. Let’s start with an easy one.
Pickled Red Onions: Thinly slice a red onion and pour some pickle juice over them and marinate them at least over night. Use some juice from your favorite pickles.
Roasted garlic aioli: Get a full hearty bulb of garlic and remove most of the papery skin, but not all. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. and set your rack to the middle. Slice off about 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb of garlic. drizzle the top with olive oil and let soak into the bulb. Loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in the oven at least an hour to 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool slightly. In a small bowl, squeeze the roasted garlic bulb and let the softened garlic fall into the bowl. With a fork, mash the cloves into a paste. Mix with 1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise to your desired level of taste.
Bacon Onion Jam: Cook half pound of bacon cut into small pieces in a large skillet. Drain the grease, leaving 2 tablespoons in the pan. In the same pan, add a sweet onion sliced into one inch strips. Toss to coat with bacon grease. Over medium-low heat, cook the onions until they are a deep brown color and caramelized, stirring frequently. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour. Don’t rush it! The longer they cook the more flavor it will add. Add one quarter cup brown sugar and one quarter cup balsamic vinegar to the pan. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom to get up all the good cooking bits. Continue to stir until the liquid reduces by about half. This will take about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook your burger: You have a decision here, are your going to grill it over charcoal, a gas grill, or on a flat surface? This all depends on your preference and possibly how much time you have. If you have time, I highly recommend the charcoal grill. If you are in a hurry, the gas grill or the flat surface such as a smoking hot cast iron skillet. No matter the method, my preference with high quality beef is medium rare.
Cheese: You have to have cheese! The possibilities are endless, but for the supreme burger it is Gruyere cheese. Most folks melt the cheese while the burger is still on the grill, but I prefer the let it melt while the burger is resting. You do let your burger rest right? Please let your burger rest a few minutes after you take it off the heat otherwise when you bite into it the juices will turn it into a sloppy mess.
Assemble the burger: Bottom Bun (toasted), slathered with roasted garlic aioli, lettuce of your choice, rested burger with melted cheese, bacon onion jam, pickled red onions, topn bun slathered with roasted garlic aioli. Step back and admire this thing of beauty! Grab it firmly with both hands, open wide and take a big bite. Be transported to Burger Heaven!