Back when we lived in Indiana, I used to make burgers with extra ingredients that we called Gourmet Burgers. The extra ingredients were garlic, onion, egg, milk, and breadcrumbs, and in the right proportions, they were very, very good. They could be grilled and stay moist and were delicious baked with a beef gravy and served with mashed potatoes. I’ve been kind of hungry for them lately, so that combined with my desire to make something appetizer-like for watching football today drove me in the direction of gourmet sliders.

Obviously the recipe had to be revamped, so I did a little research. Nomnompaleo has some yummy looking sliders with veggies integrated into them, but I was feeling more like a straight-up slider. I finally came up with the following ridiculously easy, delicious recipe. The nicest thing about it is that the numbers play nicely, so you can scale it up or down as necessary.

Without further ado, I bring you:

Amie’s Beef and Bacon Sliders
yields 24-32 three-bite hamburgers

Ingredients
3 pounds ground beef
1 pound bacon
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into several smaller pieces
3 medium eggs (optional–see note)
1/2 pound of mushrooms (optional–see note)
1 1/2 T. wye river black pepper seasoning

Method #1
There are two ways to prepare the meat mixture. The first way is to cut the bacon into small pieces–maybe five or six per strip–and then mince the onion and garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Shape into 2-ounce burgers and grill them or fry them, 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Another nice thing about these little guys is that you know they are done when the bacon starts to brown.

Method #2
Because I so love my Kitchen Aid and it’s meat grinder attachment, and because I really wanted the bacon taste to blend into the meat, I took it out and set it up:

The Ingredients

That’s a package of Sam’s Club ground beef (this was an experiment, after all, and I never experiment with my grass-fed beef), 1 pound of Farmland bacon, 1 large onion, cut into chunks, 2 monster cloves of garlic, and one of the new glass bowls I got for Christmas from Tim and the kids. If you’ve never used one of these before, it’s fairly easy. The ingredients go on the white tray at the top and get fed into the tube, which is rotated by the KA motor, then the whole mixture is pushed out the circle and into the bowl. I used the coarser grinding attachment for this endeavor.

Then I started adding things. Katy was helping me. We rotated through the different ingredients to make sure it mixed evenly. It is much easier on the machine to add bacon slices that have been cut into 3 pieces than to just drop entire pieces in. Here’s what it looked like as it started combining:

And here is what it looked like when it was finished:

I’m still getting used to the new bowls. Turned out I could have used the next size up. But you can see what it looks like mixed up. The red is the ground beef and the brown and white are the bacon and the onion pieces. Add seasonings to taste. I just used the Wye River my sister-in-law awesomely gets for us every six months or so. It’s a perfect all-purpose seasoning. Tonight I used the black formula, but you could use the red formula as well for a little bit of kick. Mix it some more with your hands or a wooden spoon, and then take 2-ounce portions of meat, if you are precise, or small meatballs if you are not, and press them into small burgers. I cooked mine indoors, in the cast iron skillet. I added about 1 tsp of bacon grease to make sure the first ones wouldn’t stick.

I cooked them about five minutes per side. If you made them thinner, you could do three. As I said earlier, the edges of the burgers will brown nicely because of the bacon, giving you an idea of when it’s done.

Serving:
These are great plated with raw spinach leaves or lettuce that has been chopped up to be slightly larger than the sliders,, and a veggie. If you’re not very-low-carbing it, you could add fries or sweet potato fries as well. You can make a little low-carb burger with the greenery. I would also absolutely take these to a party as an appetizer.

Notes

  • The amount of onion is totally to taste. After I mixed mine, I decided it wasn’t onion-y enough and added another half of a large onion. The results tasted great to me but the kids said the onion taste was too strong. So I took some of the leftover plain meat (about a half-pound) and mixed it with the last pound of meat mixture and the kids said that was much better. I left the original amount, one large onion, in the recipe. You can adjust it how you like.
  • About the egg: in theory you could also make full-size burgers out of this mixture. If I did that, I would add one egg per pound of ground beef as a binder and to keep them from drying out in the longer cook time. The bacon is pretty good insurance against drying out, but the egg can’t hurt, and adds protein to the dish as well.
  • About the ‘shrooms: if I were making these for myself, I’d have put some chopped mushrooms through the grinder as well as onion and garlic. But I wasn’t, and Tim and the kids are not mushroom fans, so I didn’t. But I think they would be very good. 🙂
  • About the Wye River: Here is a link to it. We use the original red and the spicy black. It’s basically a mixture of salt, pepper and a couple of other seasonings.  If you don’t have any of that on hand, just salt and pepper it to taste. You could also add pretty much any other seasoning that strikes your fancy.

Bon appetit!