Balsamic Barbecue Bacon Burger
1 cup Colavita balsamic vinegar (five or six star)
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground chuck
1 pound rib eye, thinly shaved and julienne
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
12 slices of thin cut bacon, of which 6 slices have been chopped coarse
1/3 cup minced sweet onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
6 medium French rolls, split
6 slices cheddar cheese, white or mild
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
For the barbecue sauce: Combine balsamic vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small nonstick, fireproof saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the patties: Combine the chuck, rib eye and black pepper in a large bowl making sure rib eye is distributed evenly throughout and set aside. Heat a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the chopped bacon and cook until slightly crisp then add the onion, garlic, thyme and bread crumbs. Remove from heat and combine with the chuck and rib eye handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the rolls. Take the remaining 6 slices of bacon and wrap one slice around each of the patties.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers: Place equal portions of the romaine lettuce on each bun bottom, followed by a cheese-topped patty, and an equal portion of the balsamic barbecue on top. Add the bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers