Two weekends ago marked the arrival of a new member of the Ryan family; our new gas grill. The grill is very similar to a child really; the whole process started with an extended painful labor (the assembly), it was unconditionally loved from birth, and we’ve played with it nonstop since. Most nights Kristi and I have both checked on it before we’ve headed to bed. Oh, and Janet turned one.
Anyhoo, with the new grill on the front deck, it seemed like it was time for another round of Pete’s Burgers. I’ve always enjoyed when a restaurant burger has the added bonus of a fried egg on top, so I figured I would do my own version of that and make it as breakfast-like as I could. As usual, any good burger starts with good ground beef.
To continue on the path of things that should be done every time you make any kind of burger, I mixed the ground beef with lots of salt and pepper.
When thinking about how to use the egg, I’d heard of people doing some sort of birds nest burger where the burger is a ring, with an egg cracked in the center, cooked in a pan. Boooring. Who cooks burgers in a pan anyway? To cook it on the grill I needed to break out a little razzle dazzle.
While Kristi fried some bacon (what else would go on a breakfast burger?) I broke the meat into four equal portions then divided two portions into four large thin patties that I flattened on wax paper.
Now for the egg. Whites are boring, they are for binding or bland omelettes; you really only want the flavor of the yolk. The key for this one is to match the quality of your beef with your egg yolk. I recommend the Pete & Gerry’s Heirloom Americauna and Maran eggs because the yolk is huge and flavorful. I separated out the whites and dropped a yolk in the center of two of the large thin patties.
With the yolks in the center of the bottom halves, I laid the top half of the burger meat over the top of the yolk and carefully pinched the sides while letting out any excess air. I think if I had screwed up this step I would have acted like Janet when she wants out of the booster and started crying while dropping ground beef out of both hands with my arms above my head. Luckily everything went smoothly.
With the burgers all sealed up, I shaped them a bit to resemble regular burgers, then got started on my key condiment.
Although ketchup often goes very well with eggs, we were on the razzle dazzle train at this point, so I wanted to do a little better. The olllld razzle dazzle train, CHOO CHOO!!!!!
I ended up going with a maple aioli consisting of half Vermont maple syrup, half mayo, plus some ground pepper and dried herbs.
With the toppings and burgers all prepped, it was time do fire up the King Griller!
Let’s address those buns for a second. In principle, I like brioche, but I also have complained about its overuse in restaurants due to how much larger it is than any reasonably sized burger. I prefer perfectly sized Martin’s Potato Rolls. But, Kristi was doing the shopping this day and I have to say it ended up being the perfect bun as you’ll see later.
Once the grill was good and hot, the burgers went on with the lid down and the heat set to medium/high for about five minutes before flipping.
Since I was using a nice sharp Cabot cheddar (3rd placement!), I put the cheese on immediately after flipping and put the buns on the top rack before closing the lid again. After a couple minutes I took the buns off and slathered a good amount of the maple aioli on the top and bottom before pulling the burgers off the grill.
With the addition of the bacon on top of the cheese, these bad boys were ready to eat. So here, without further ado, is the finest three-picture series of food porn in the storied history of this blog.
In order to make sure the yolk wasn’t completely cold, I cooked the burger to a medium/medium well temperature. The temperature didn’t really matter, though, since they were plenty moist from all of the rich egg yolk and melty cheddar.
The burger meat reminded both of us of sausage from all of the salt and pepper and because it was complimented by so many other breakfast flavors. The cheddar and bacon were obviously awesome, but the maple aioli really brought it all together with that distinct maple sweetness complimenting without overwhelming the other flavors. Of course, the divine purpose of the large brioche all along was sopping up that delicious yolk that went everywhere when we cut into the burgers.
The photos in this one might be tough to top, but I’ve got some ideas for next week.
Finally, to give a proper shout out to my (slightly older than a) baby girl, happy first birthday Janet! You’ve made this past year more fun than your mother and I could have ever imagined.