Bacon Cheese Burger and Sweet Potato Chips

Sunday, November 11, 2012

When life hands you a charcoal grill you make burgers

My father-in-law recently brought us a charcoal kettle grill as a house-warming gift. It's been a couple years since we've had the space to grill so this was about as welcome as a gift could get. I had a pound of grass-fed ground beef from my friends over at Deer Run Farm hanging out in the freezer so it seemed that burgers were in order. We have a soft spot for bacon cheese burgers in our house (until a couple months ago that soft spot was mostly my belly, now I think it's in our heart...) so yesterday I got to work. Strictly speaking, cheese is not a true "paleo" food. I recommend eliminating dairy from your diet along with grains until you've healed your gut and then add it back in to test for tolerance. It doesn't bother us, so I'll indulge in good cheese from time to time.

Bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato chips
          The great part about this grill is that it came with a coal bucket that you heat your coals in and then slide into place under the kettle. This lets you cook at a low temperature instead of flame-broiling your food. Great for smoking meats and keeping char from the places you don't want it. First step was getting the coals hot. While those were burning I headed to the kitchen to make the patties.

          I took a pound of ground beef (grass-fed, very important) and placed it in a bowl. I added garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mineral salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to the bowl with one pastured egg. The seasonings can be experimented with, if you don't care for cayenne heat try switching it up for basic chili powder or even good quality smoked paprika. I mixed the seasoning, egg, and beef by hand and formed it into three patties. I made one approximately half a pound (mine), and the other two were split evenly (my wife's and a backup burger).

          Once the patties were formed I took two strips of bacon per patty and wrapped them in an "X" configuration around the burger. This keeps the burgers moist as you will need to leave them on the grill in the lower heat for a longer period of time. Secure the bacon with toothpicks through the middle to keep it from unwrapping while cooking. Then I placed the patties on the grill directly over the coal bucket. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to cook them this way so make sure you check them but not too regularly. You want to keep the heat relatively low but consistent. Opening the grill lid every 5 minutes lets that heat escape and delays the cooking process. Flip them once during the cooking process being mindful of the toothpicks on the grill grate.

          While the burgers were working their magic I decided to make use of a giant sweet potato we had picked up from the farmers' market. I peeled it and sliced it thin using a mandolin. You can get a general idea of the thickness I used in the picture but I would recommend going even a little thinner than that to achieve a crispier texture. Once the potato is sliced lay the individual slices out on a large cookie sheet so that each piece is exposed on the top.

           I heated two to three tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauce pan on low heat just to get it to a liquid consistency. Using a basting brush, spread the oil evenly across the top surface of all the potato slices. Then sprinkle with your favorite sweet potato seasoning. I use good salt and ground cinnamon most of the time. It works really well with the sweetness of the coconut oil and you don't add in a bunch of extra carbohydrates by sprinkling sugar on them.

          I placed the chips under the broiler for a few minutes to soften them up. Depending on your stove the timing can vary wildly so be cautious and keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Once they were softened I took tongs and carefully flipped each chip and applied another layer of coconut oil. Don't worry about using up all the oil. You just need enough to coat each side with a thin layer. Then the chips went back under the broiler until they began to brown.

          The chips don't take very long so try and time it towards the end of your burger cooking. Also note that they won't be as crispy as white potato chips so don't burn them looking for that classic 'tater chip crunch. My burgers were finishing up so I took some sliced colby-jack blend and laid a slice over each patty after I pulled the toothpicks out. Your bacon will have cooked into the beef by this point so you shouldn't worry about it coming undone. While the cheese was melting I sliced some red onion and an avocado (my favorite burger toppings) and waited patiently. Well, not so patiently but it only took a minute to get the cheese gooey and we put the whole plate together and dug in.

          The smokey flavor from the combo of slow-cooking on the grill and good apple-wood bacon was amazing. We ate at about five o'clock and had plans to go to the movies at seven. Since we skipped the buns and filled up on quality protein (beef), healthy fats (meat, coconut oil, and avocado), and slow-burning complex carbs (sweet potato) we were able to stay satiated all evening and not overdose on popcorn during the film.

          Let me know what you think and if you have any questions. I know one thing I'd like to do for the next recipe is take some pictures while doing the cooking to document the process a little better. For now, I hope you enjoy!




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Bacon Cheese Burger and Sweet Potato Chips

When life hands you a charcoal grill you make burgers

My father-in-law recently brought us a charcoal kettle grill as a house-warming gift. It's been a couple years since we've had the space to grill so this was about as welcome as a gift could get. I had a pound of grass-fed ground beef from my friends over at Deer Run Farm hanging out in the freezer so it seemed that burgers were in order. We have a soft spot for bacon cheese burgers in our house (until a couple months ago that soft spot was mostly my belly, now I think it's in our heart...) so yesterday I got to work. Strictly speaking, cheese is not a true "paleo" food. I recommend eliminating dairy from your diet along with grains until you've healed your gut and then add it back in to test for tolerance. It doesn't bother us, so I'll indulge in good cheese from time to time.

Bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato chips
          The great part about this grill is that it came with a coal bucket that you heat your coals in and then slide into place under the kettle. This lets you cook at a low temperature instead of flame-broiling your food. Great for smoking meats and keeping char from the places you don't want it. First step was getting the coals hot. While those were burning I headed to the kitchen to make the patties.

          I took a pound of ground beef (grass-fed, very important) and placed it in a bowl. I added garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mineral salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to the bowl with one pastured egg. The seasonings can be experimented with, if you don't care for cayenne heat try switching it up for basic chili powder or even good quality smoked paprika. I mixed the seasoning, egg, and beef by hand and formed it into three patties. I made one approximately half a pound (mine), and the other two were split evenly (my wife's and a backup burger).

          Once the patties were formed I took two strips of bacon per patty and wrapped them in an "X" configuration around the burger. This keeps the burgers moist as you will need to leave them on the grill in the lower heat for a longer period of time. Secure the bacon with toothpicks through the middle to keep it from unwrapping while cooking. Then I placed the patties on the grill directly over the coal bucket. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to cook them this way so make sure you check them but not too regularly. You want to keep the heat relatively low but consistent. Opening the grill lid every 5 minutes lets that heat escape and delays the cooking process. Flip them once during the cooking process being mindful of the toothpicks on the grill grate.

          While the burgers were working their magic I decided to make use of a giant sweet potato we had picked up from the farmers' market. I peeled it and sliced it thin using a mandolin. You can get a general idea of the thickness I used in the picture but I would recommend going even a little thinner than that to achieve a crispier texture. Once the potato is sliced lay the individual slices out on a large cookie sheet so that each piece is exposed on the top.

           I heated two to three tablespoons of coconut oil in a small sauce pan on low heat just to get it to a liquid consistency. Using a basting brush, spread the oil evenly across the top surface of all the potato slices. Then sprinkle with your favorite sweet potato seasoning. I use good salt and ground cinnamon most of the time. It works really well with the sweetness of the coconut oil and you don't add in a bunch of extra carbohydrates by sprinkling sugar on them.

          I placed the chips under the broiler for a few minutes to soften them up. Depending on your stove the timing can vary wildly so be cautious and keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Once they were softened I took tongs and carefully flipped each chip and applied another layer of coconut oil. Don't worry about using up all the oil. You just need enough to coat each side with a thin layer. Then the chips went back under the broiler until they began to brown.

          The chips don't take very long so try and time it towards the end of your burger cooking. Also note that they won't be as crispy as white potato chips so don't burn them looking for that classic 'tater chip crunch. My burgers were finishing up so I took some sliced colby-jack blend and laid a slice over each patty after I pulled the toothpicks out. Your bacon will have cooked into the beef by this point so you shouldn't worry about it coming undone. While the cheese was melting I sliced some red onion and an avocado (my favorite burger toppings) and waited patiently. Well, not so patiently but it only took a minute to get the cheese gooey and we put the whole plate together and dug in.

          The smokey flavor from the combo of slow-cooking on the grill and good apple-wood bacon was amazing. We ate at about five o'clock and had plans to go to the movies at seven. Since we skipped the buns and filled up on quality protein (beef), healthy fats (meat, coconut oil, and avocado), and slow-burning complex carbs (sweet potato) we were able to stay satiated all evening and not overdose on popcorn during the film.

          Let me know what you think and if you have any questions. I know one thing I'd like to do for the next recipe is take some pictures while doing the cooking to document the process a little better. For now, I hope you enjoy!




No comments: