Saturday, February 3, 2018

Giant Bacon Cheeseburger

One of my friends at work does not like sweets so whenever her birthday comes around I get to come up with fun savory dishes for her. I've made a cute Sushi Cake (HERE), a tasty Savory Southwest Cheesecake (HERE), and a very cake-looking Smorgastarta (HERE)
This year I went big. 
Like... really big. 

Although, to be fair, she is pretty tiny so in comparison it looks even bigger. 
Anyway, this burger is sooo much fun to make. The bread recipe I use here makes enough for 2 large buns so you can always make one bun and then make regular sized buns from the other half if you like. I made 2 large buns because I wanted to make sure I had a back up in case something went wrong. 

Giant Bacon Cheeseburger

1/2 cup hot water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp dry active yeast
4 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
7 to 9 cups of flour

1 egg white, beaten
2 Tbsp or so of sesame seeds

4 lbs extra lean ground beef
4 eggs
1 Tbsp HP sauce
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 tsp garlic granules (or 4 cloves minced garlic)
1/4 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs 

condiments: mustard, mayo, ketchup
5 - 6 leaves of lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced
1 lb bacon, cooked
1 jar sliced sandwich pickles
1/2 onion, sliced
8 to 10 large slices of cheese (I used jalapeno jack)

Prepare bread: In a small bowl place the 1/2 cup hot water, the first 1 Tbsp sugar, and the yeast. Don't stir, set aside and let stand for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
In a large bowl, place the 4 cups of warm water. Add in the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of oil, and salt. Add in 3 cups of flour, mixing as you are adding, stir until smooth. 
Next, stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is sticky and forms a ball (you may or may not need the entire 9 cups). Place dough onto a floured work surface and knead until dough feels soft and light to the touch - about 5 minutes or so. Add a little more flour if dough seems too sticky. Don't add a lot more flour though or your bread will be tough instead of fluffy. 
Oil a mixing bowl and place the dough in the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a towel and put in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. 

After an hour, punch dough down and cut in half. Roll each half into a large ball and place in a large pan with very short sides, or on an oven safe dish, or a cookie sheet. Be sure to spray the dish you use with cooking spray OR line with parchment paper. 

I used a tart pan and serving platter with curved sides. Cover the dough with a towel and set somewhere warm to rise for another hour until doubled in size. 

When dough is risen, preheat oven to 375. Brush the tops of the bread with beaten egg white and then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Bake until bread is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped - about 45 minutes or so. 

Let cool for about 8 minutes and then remove the bread from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely. You may need to run a butter knife around the edge off the pan to loosen it.

Set aside until burger is ready. Bread can be made ahead of time and frozen, then simply thawed when you are ready to make the burger. You need to cut the bun in half, horizontally. I found using a serrated knife works best. 

Prepare burger: In a large mixing bowl combine the beef, eggs, HP sauce, mustard, garlic, onion, and bread crumbs.

Mix until very well combined - it helps to get in there with your hands. 
On a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, Pat out the burger mixture until it is a little bit bigger than the bun you made. As you can see from the photo below, I used the bottom of my tart pan that I baked the bread in as a guide for how big to make the patty. 
You want to make it a little bit bigger than your bun to allow for meat shrinkage from cooking. 

Bake in 350 oven for about an hour - until meat is thoroughly cooked. The best way to tell if it is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. 

Assemble your burger: Place the bottom of your bun on a serving tray. Spread mustard, ketchup, mayo - whatever your favorite condiments are - on the bun. Top with lettuce. Carefully place the burger patty on the lettuce.

Now top with your favorite toppings. I used jalapeno jack cheese, bacon, pickles, tomato and onion. 

Spread more condiments on the top bun and then place on top.

Serve immediately!
Note - you can make the bun ahead of time and you can also make the burger patty ahead of time. The burger patty can be reheated in either the microwave or in the oven. 

You can cut the slices are big as you like but, trust me, a little slice goes a long way.

I managed to snap a few pics with my phone at the office before it was devoured. 
Now, I just wanted to say: for me, the meat was a little thick. I used 4 lbs of ground beef but I think the next time I make it I would cut back to 2.5 to 3 lbs. A few of my coworkers agreed with me and a few said the meat-to-bun ratio was perfect. It comes down to your own preference!

I apologize for the weird lighting in some of these pics. I assembled everything together first thing in the morning to bring to work so it was pitch black outside and there was no natural light at all. 
Also, this would be a smashing idea for Super Bowl party time. Am I right? Imagine how happy your guests would be if you showed up with this for the game!

Looking for more fun foody links? Pop over to Carole's Chatter!