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Bacon jam key to ‘the best burger ever’

6/29/17 | By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC PC-3

There is nothing quite like having a place that you can go to just to hang out and enjoy a beverage and a plate of food after a long day of work. No pressure; no incessant need to try to maintain any pretenses. Just you, a couple of bites of food and an ice-cold Narragansett.

It has been a long week at work; truth be told, it has been a long four weeks of fun as I work through a side project that I’ve had on my docket. Luckily, my summer will begin on Saturday and I will be more than happy to sleep in a little bit, go to bed a little later and just start to relax.

As I sit at the bar of Our Harvest in Fenwick Island, I meet a lovely couple named Ty and Jenny. We compare notes on our dogs at the beach (both apparently less-than-intelligent, amazing well-bred designer dogs made for the ocean), our kids (none of them ever slept in infancy, and I mean never), and the bags under parents’ eyes that never seem to go away and the joys of living at the beach or working towards that goal. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long, long day.

It was a short respite, and as enjoyable as it was, my mind kept wandering to a day earlier in the week at a get-together at home. Despite the busy week, I had my sister and her family over for dinner and enjoyed their company while the kids played in the pool. With the grill fired up, I threw a cast iron pan on the grates to make a batch of bacon jam, a quintessential condiment for just about any burger. A simple combination of ingredients, bacon jam will soon find a way into your heart as it dresses up chicken sandwiches and pork as readily as it does a burger.

One part of the recipe, or at least a part that was essential this week, is getting lost in conversation so you forget to pull the bacon jam off. I was lucky that I didn’t burn it, as I had completely forgotten this particular batch, and when I came back, I was sure that it was toast. It was not, and in fact it had a hearty, roasted flavor. Sometimes, it’s a great thing to overcook something. Just don’t make it a habit.

This brings me to an important note on seasoning burgers, and this is a soft spot for our youngest son, Ethan. You see, Ethan has one rule about burgers, and it is critical. For the love of god, people, season the darned things, even if it’s just with salt and pepper. Season the patties. Nothing irritates the kid more than getting a burger that is tasteless, and he is sure to let me know every time that a cook doesn’t quite fulfill their obligation.

Now in my day off, I may have to fire up the grill again, as just writing this makes me hungry. During a week of heavy workload, meeting some fine people and finally taking a load off my feet, another bacon-jam laden burger may just be in order. I’ll just have to remember to forget it again, if that’s even possible.

The Best Burger Ever

Enough for four burgers

4 six-ounce burger patties (see below)

Liberal amounts of salt & pepper

8 Strips good, local bacon

4 Medium local eggs

4 ounces Bacon jam (recipe follows)

Lettuce & Tomato, as needed

Pickles (your choice) as needed

Optional condiments such as mayo,

mustard, ketchup etc.

4 Brioche rolls

1. Fry the bacon on a preheated flat top griddle. set aside

2. Season the burger patties – just remember Ethan’s Rule

3. Grill to the temperature of your liking and set aside for a minute or two while you fry the eggs

4. Fry aforementioned eggs on the bacon grease-laden griddle until over easy (you can envision the yolks running down your chin)

5. Build the burger with the egg, bacon and bacon jam and with or without pickles, mayo or anything else that may or may not be on your agenda. Just build the burger

Bacon Jam

Makes about a cup

6 strips bacon, cut into little bits

1/2 med. White onion, fine julienne

3 tsp. White vinegar

3 tsp. Brown sugar

1. Place the bacon lardons (little bits) and onion in a pan and set the heat to medium. This part can be kind of frustrating if you are like me, in that it takes patience

2. Pay attention to your family, and completely forget about your bacon jam, of course assuming that your stove setting is on medium or preferably low

3. Once your onion and bacon have an uber-roasted feel to them, pull off the heat and drain

4. Add the vinegar and sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. You can make it a little loose at this point, as it will thicken as it cools down

5. Set aside until ready to use

The Patties

makes about 8 patties

2 pounds Beef brisket

1 pound Beef chuck

1. Double-grind the beef and combine well so that the flavors meld into a magical mass of meaty might

2. Break into equal portions and patty them up

3. Refrigerate until needed

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