When I offered to guest post a food recipe for Merry I wasn’t thinking I would have to write everything down, including ingredients and time. You see, normally I just cook “off-the-cuff”. You know, you look in the fridge and create something out of what you have. 9 times out of 10, I create something delicious; albeit not always attractive to look at. My 16 yr old son is used to that and knows if he forgets the odd color or weird ingredients, he will usually be in for a culinary delight. Well, at least a decent meal. When my son was little I instituted a rule about trying new foods. It was quite simple and he agreed, reluctantly, to adhere to it. It goes like this.
No matter how weird or smelly something is, or if it jiggles or stares back at you, you must try it twice.
Why twice? Well, my theory is that we all, even adults, can be reluctant to try something new. So why would kids be any different? The first time we see, smell, touch, or experience anything we do it with some trepidation. We approach it with caution, poke it, look it over, ponder how good or bad it might be; essentially try and convince ourselves it might be bad for us. Kinda like sky diving really. The first time, you are going to have PUSH me outta that perfectly good plane. The second time up, I know what to expect. I know the rush of exhilaration, the pull of the parachute as it catches air, the rush of the ground towards me, and finally the landing. So food is no different. So twice, you say? Yup, if you try it on a second occasion and you still do not like it, I will never ask you to try it again. Easy!
You see, if someone had made me try Yorkshire pudding when I was younger, I would not have spent all those years thinking it was probably something yucky like that gross tapioca stuff!! Experimenting with food can be fun for kids. Make a deal with them and honor it. I guarantee you will gain their trust and absolutely expand their culinary experiences. NOTE: the downside is that my son only likes aged white cheddar, brie, figs in Grand Marnier sauce, gourmet grilled cheese … you get the picture – lol
Lets get cooking! There are three elements to this meal. Burger, Bacon, Fries. We are going to be cooking and prepping all at the same time. Bcause in my world, I’m a short-order cook.
- 0.5 kg Ground Sirloin, any ground beef will work
- 2 Tablespoons more or less Montreal Steak Spice
- 1 Large egg
- 8 Ritz crackers crushed
- 3 or 4 Tablspoons of your favourite BBQ sauce - we used BullsEye - Guinness
- Grainy Mustard
- 12 slices - Thick Sliced Bacon
- 3 or 4 Cheese Buns, or your bun preference
- 3 or 4 Slices of your favourite cheese - we used Jalapeño Havarti for some more spice!
- 1 Cup Mayo
- 1 Lime
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Hy's Cajun Seasoning or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Large Yam or Sweet Potato
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Hy's Cajun Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Get out two cookie sheets and line one with parchment paper.
- Let's get that bacon in the oven! Place 12 slices of your favourite thick bacon on a cookie sheet (without parchment paper) and slide it into the oven on the middle or lower rack. Bake for about 30 minutes depending on how crisp you want them. Yes, the oven is the only way you will ever cook bacon again!
- Alright, get a decent size metal bowl out for making the burger patties in. Crack the egg into the bowl, add the Steak Spice, add the crushed ritz crackers (I just put them in a baggie and roll them with a coffee mug), and the BBQ sauce. Mix those up nicely and then add the ground sirloin. Mix it all up. Don't over work the hamburger mixture! Now shape up some decent sized patties. I got three but I think most people will probably make four. Set those aside on a plate.
- Grab that big Yam and cut it up into fries. Put them into a ziplock bag (yes this is exactly like Merry's recipe), add the olive oil, garlic, and spices. Zip it up and get those fries all happy and covered! Spread in a single layer on the parchment papered pan(s). Slide them in the oven now and cook for around 30 – 40 minutes (depends on how big you cut the fries).
- Now I am betting the bacon should be almost done so check on them and see if they are the right crispness for you. I took mine out and put them on some paper towel. Then put in some tinfoil and put aside for later. Clean the cookie sheet so we can use it right away.
- Lets get those burgers cooking. I use a cast iron frying pan but if you don't have one, that's ok, just use what you have. Get the pan heated up (med/hot) and put in a little olive oil and then lay those big patties in there to get em happy. The idea is just to sear the outside not cook them. So watch them (turn on your hood fan) and flip them when they are getting crispy. As soon as the other side is done, take them off the heat. Now if you used a cast iron frying pan, just slide that in the oven and you are good. If you used a regular frying pan, put the patties on the cleaned cookies sheet and put that in the oven.
- Fries are cooking. Burgers are cooking. Time to mix the aioli.
- In a bowl, add the mayo, garlic, cajun seasoning and the juice of one lime. Done! Put the bowl in the fridge.
- Put the tin foil wrapped bacon in the oven to warm up a bit.
- Now, slice the cheese buns. Change the oven from bake to broil. Everything else should be on the low rack right now. Slide the buns on the upper rack to brown them. Be ready to add the cheese just as the start to brown. Quickly melt the cheese and get them out and on to your plates. Turn off the oven, pull the fries out, and then the burgers and bacon.
- Toasted buns are on the plates, now layer the bacon on the bottom bun, place the burger, spread some ailoi on the top bun and add a dollop of grainy mustard. Done!
- Put some fries on everyone's plate and dollop of aioli for their fries.
- Dig in and have a napkin handy cause that burger is going to be juicy heaven.
One hour from start to finish. My son rated the meal as "Food Truck" worthy. Which is like a 5-star rating. You can mix it up. Use a different bun, make a different aioli, whatever. Searing the burger and then cooking it off in the oven makes it a very moist burger. Try a different cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1251Saturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 1268mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 40g
WOW, that was a long one! I think it took me longer to write this post than to make the burgers.
So who am I? First and foremost I’m a dad. My son is with me 50% of the time and we have a blast when we are together. Skiing, yoga, cooking, road trips, long-boarding, photography, and travelling. I have the best son in the world. My blog, well, it’s not public yet. So I am a wanna-be-blogger? I love to help my friends with their blogs; designing, programming, strategy, advice, hosting. Anything to do with digital/integrated communications is my expertise. But food is my passion. I post a lot of it on Instagram/Twitter (@mitchpopilchak) I hope you enjoy this recipe and feel free to ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.