Did you just drool a little bit reading the title?  It’s okay, I did that too when I saw this recipe.  I was lying in bed before falling asleep, flipping through an issue of Fine Cooking and the moment I saw this I sat upright and exclaimed, “We have to make these!”  Ben hears these sorts of exclamations frequently but when I read the title out loud, he whole-heartedly agreed.  While Courtney was visiting, I mentioned them to her and we ended up making them for dinner one evening.

The topping is really what drew me to this recipe.  I’m a sucker for anything involving caramelized onions, and using them as a burger topping infused with some bacon and balsamic vinegar is brilliant.  The burger itself is kept simple, just as I like it, with a bit of bacon mixed in to the patties.  Since Gruyere and caramelized(ish) onions are a natural pair, and because I think every burger should be a cheeseburger, I added some when the burgers were finishing up on the grill.  To me this is the perfect time of year for such a meal because it involves flavors you might associate with fall but allows you to take advantage of the dwindling days when it is still warm enough to fire up the grill.  Of course I’m sure these would be wonderful made inside on a grill pan or cast iron pan in the event of a gray and drizzly fall day.  Whether you’re a lover of bacon, burgers, onions, or all three, I’m pretty sure you’ll love these burgers.

And, just because I think it’s pretty great, here’s a shot I took of Andrew “coloring” with Courtney’s iPad.  He loved having her here almost as much as I did.  The morning after she left, the first thing he asked when he woke up was, “Where’s Courtney?”  So cute!


For the topping:

  • 4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup water

For the burgers:

  • 2 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1½ lbs. ground beef (85% lean)
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Thinly sliced Gruyere cheese (optional)
  • hamburger buns, split


  • 01

    To make the topping, place a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the bacon until lightly browned but not yet crisp, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.  Drain all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.  Add the onion to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and cook for two minutes.  Uncover the pan, add a splash of water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

  • 02

    Stir in the vinegar, mustard and water.  Return the bacon to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered until the mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 2-4 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl and let cool slightly.  Cover and refrigerate if making in advance.

  • 03

    To make the burgers, finely mince the bacon.  Add to a bowl with the ground beef, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.  Mix well with a fork until evenly combined.  Divide into four equal portions and form into patties about ¾-1 inch thick.

  • 04

    Heat a grill to medium-high heat.  Grill to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes per side depending on preference and grill temperature.  When the burgers are almost finished cooking, top with the Gruyere, if using.  Remove the patties to a plate and let rest.  Meanwhile briefly toast the buns on the grill.  Assemble the burgers on the toasted buns and topped with the onion jam.