Garlic Stuffed Bacon Burger wiht Grilled Cremini Mushrooms, Smoked Swiss Cheese and Sweet Onion Mustard
For the Grilled Mushrooms:
20 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned
1/3 cup avocado or grapeseed oil, plus more for brushing grill
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup (heaping) whole fresh garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar reduction or glaze
For the Grilled Sweet Onions:
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced 3/4″ thick slices
1 Tbsp. avocado or grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the Crispy Bacon:
1/2 cup avocado or grapeseed oil
12 thin slices double smoked bacon very thinly sliced (have deli slice it for you) each slice cut in half (so you have 24 short pieces of bacon)
For the Toasted Garlic:
Fat/grease rendered from bacon
36 large cloves garlic, unpeeled (separated into cloves
For the Burgers:
4 oz. coarsely chopped double smoked bacon, very thinly sliced (have deli slice it for you)
24 cloves toasted garlic, peeled and smashed (from step #6 below)
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed tightly into measuring cup), finely chopped
1 3/4 lbs. ground chuck (80% lean, 20% fat)
For the Sweet Onion Mustard:
Grilled Sweet Onions (from step #4 below)
9 oz. Jack Daniels Honey Mustard
12 cloves toasted garlic, peeled (from step #6 below)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced raw sweet onion
1/2 cup minced garlic pickle
1/4 cup fresh garlic chives, minced
For the Pickle Studded Cheese:
12 thin slices (about 8 oz.) Smoked Gruyere cheese (have deli slice it for you)
1/4 cup finely died garlic pickle
For Finishing the Burgers:
avocado or grapeseed oil for grill, burgers and buns
6 uncooked burgers/patties, from step #7, below
6 onion challa or brioche hamburger sized (about 4 1/2″-5″ in diamete) rolls
Pickle Studded Smoked Swiss Cheese
Sweet Onion Mustard
Sliced Grilled Mushrooms
1) Marinate the Mushrooms: Place the cleaned cremini mushrooms into a medium mixing bowl. Place the 1/3 cup avocado or grapeseed oil, 1 tsp. fine sea salt and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, the 1/3 cup fresh basil, 1/2 cup garlic cloves into a food processor (or mini food processor) and process until all of the ingredients are finely chopped and combined, stopping the processor at least once to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula (about 1-2 minutes). Scrape the basil/garlic mixture out of the processor and into the bowl with the mushrooms and toss to coat the mushrooms evenly. Let the mushrooms marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling them.
2) Prepare Your Grill: For a Gas Grill: If you have a grill that has more than one section, heat one section to high and one to medium. If you only have one section, heat it to medium.
3) Grill the Mushrooms: Brush the hot side of the grill with a little of the avocado or grapeseed oil (use a clean wadded up dish towel for this). Thread the mushrooms onto metal skewers and grill over high heat until cooked through and brown (about 2-3 minutes per side, turning twice-treat them as triangles, i.e. three sided). When done, slide the hot mushrooms off the skewers back into the marinade and add the 1 Tbsp. balsamic glaze. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, slice thinly and return to the bowl wiht the marinate. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare and finish the burgers.
5) For the Grilled Sweet Onions: Brush both sides of the sweet onion slices with the 1 Tbsp. avocado or grapeseed oil and season both sides with the 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Grill on the hot side of the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side or until onions are cooked through and ahve nice grill marks on both sides. Remove to a small bowl and set aside until you are ready to make the Sweet Onion Mustard.
6) Crisp the Bacon: Place the 1/2 cup avocado or grapeseed oil into a large cast iron skillet and place the skillet onto the hot side of the grill. Add the bacon in one layer (you may have to cook it in batches if your skillet is not very large), and as soon as the bacon starts to sizzle, move the skillet to the cooler side of the grill (or turn down the heat on a gas grill). Cook bacon until it is golden brown and very crispy (remove the slices as they are done to a paper towel lined plate to drain)-about 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill (keep a close watch on the bacon so it does not burn). When the bacon is all cooked, leave the fat/oil in the skillet and the skillet on the grill.
6) For the Toasted Garlic: Add the 36 unpeeled garlic cloves to the fat in the skillet and cook over medium heat until golden brown on all sides (use tongs to keep turning the garlic so it browns evenly and doesn’t burn). Remove the cloves as they are done to a small bowl to let cool slightly. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, remove the papery skins (they will come off very easily at this point) and use the side of your chef’s knife to smash the cloves. Chop the smashed cloves with your chef’s knife and return it to the small bowl. Remove any papery bits of the garlic skin/husk from the pan and move it to the hottest part of the grill.
7) Prepare the Burgers: Place the 4 oz. double smoked bacon into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground (1-2 minutes, on and off until evenly ground/chopped). Place the ground/chopped bacon into a large wide mixing bowl. Add the 24 smashed toasted garlic cloves, the 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper and 1 1/2 cups minced fresh basil to the bacon. Use your hands to combine the mixture thoroughly. NOTE: you want the bacon and seasonings uniformly and thoroughly mixed so when you add the ground chuck you will not have to handle it any more than necessary. When the bacon mixture is thoroughly combined, crumble the ground chuck over the mixture in the bowl and use your hands to toss the beef with the mixture-like a salad-crumbling the beef chunks as you mix. You want to handle the beef as little as possible while still mixing it evenly and thoroughly. When mixed thoroughly, divide into 6 burgers/patties (a slightly rounded or “heaping” 3/4 cup meat mixture per burger-if you have a little meat mixture left over, make the chef a little spicy meat ball). Form each portion into a patty that is about 4 1/2″ in diameter. Place burgers onto a clean platter and cover with plastic wrap. Chill if not grilling within 1 hour (remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling).
8) For the Sweet Onion Mustard: Place the grilled sweet onions, 9 oz. Jack Daniels Honey Mustard, 12 cloves toasted garlic (peeled-from step #6 below), 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. fine sea salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape the mixture out into a bowl and add the 1/2 cup minced raw sweet onion, 1/2 cup finely diced garlic pickle and the 1/4 cup minced garlic chives. Fold the onions and chives into the mustard and set aside until you are ready to build the burgers.
9) For the Pickled Studded Cheese: Lay out 6 slices of the Smoked Gruyere Cheese on your work surface. Sprinkly 2-3 tsp. of the minced garlic pickle over each slice evenly. Top each slice with another slice of cheese and press them firmly with your hand to seal the two slices together.
10) Cook the Burgers: Use the avocado or grapeseed oil to lightly oil both sides of all of the burgers and lightly oil the grill. Grill the burgers for about 4 minutes per side (you are aiming for about 135-140 degrees internal temperature-they will stay very juicy and moist because of the bacon), turning them once. While the burgers cook, prepare the buns by creating a “divot” in each top bun: remove excess dough from the inside of each top bun-this will help the mushrooms and bacon stay on the burger and help the burger stay together. Lightly oil the cut sides of the buns with avocado or grapeseed oil. When the burgers are about 1 minute from being done, top each one with a slice of the pickle studded cheese. Cover the grill to melt the cheese. When done, remove the burgers to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest and keep warm while you toast the buns. Place the buns, cut sides down around the edges of the grill and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until warm and lightly toasted. Remove buns from grill and place one top and bottom onto each of 6 plates.
11) Finish the Burgers: Spread about 1 Tbsp. of the Sweet Onion Mustard onto the cut sides of each top and bottom bun (spread it into the “divot” in the top buns). Place 3-4 pieces of the crispy bacon on each bottom bun and top with a cooked burger. Fill the “divot” in each top bun wiht 1/4-1/3 cup of the mushrooms, packing them in slightly. Quickly flip the top buns on to the burgers (the mushrooms nestled snugly in place) and serve! (you may have extra Sweet Onion Mustard-save it for another day!)