Burgers are great, and I love them, but there is something about sliders that is just so goshdarn cute! I've actually made these burgers three times, and I love them the most as sliders. They are very rich and pretty heavy, so I think the smaller portion is the way to go. Incidentally, they would also make great finger food for the Super Bowl. I'm not a huge professional football fan, but I do love eating snack food, so I definitely always look forward to Super Bowl parties!
So what makes these burgers so great? You start with a pretty simple burger - meat, a few seasonings, and the kicker: chopped bacon. Thanks to the fat content of the bacon, these won't really dry out, so you don't have to worry about overcooking them. However, if you make these as sliders, you should be sure to chop the bacon pretty small so that it cooks fully. No one likes pieces of half-cooked bacon, right? The bacon-balsamic-onion jam is the best part of these burgers though. I don't think I even need to elaborate on that anymore. Bacon. Balsamic. Caramelized onions. The end. FYI it is also an insanely wonderful addition to grilled cheese should you have any left over :) I finished these sliders off with some Gruyere cheese, but I think blue cheese would be really great as well. Or even a super sharp cheddar.
If you are looking for more Super Bowl food ideas, check out the Featured Recipes Page. I've updated it with some great options that will all be well-received at any party!
Bacon Sliders with Bacon-Balsamic-Onion Jam
adapted from Fine Cooking, July 2011, via Cook Like a Champion and Annie's Eats
For the jam:
- 4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup water
For the burgers:
- 2 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 7-8 slider buns or dinner rolls, split
- Sliced Gruyere cheese, optional
Cook the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of oil from the skillet.
Add the onion to the skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste, add the sugar, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and add a splash of water, then scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, mustard and water. Return the bacon to the skillet and simmer until the liquid has thickened and most of it has been absorbed, 2-4 minutes. Transfer the jam to a small bowl, add another splash of balsamic vinegar, and set aside. The jam can be left at room temperature until ready to serve, or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To make the burgers, mince the bacon. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Gently mix into the ground beef, using your hands or a fork. Divide the ground beef mixture evenly into 7-8 portions (depending on the size of your buns), and form each portion into a patty that will fit onto the slider bun.
Heat a large (preferably nonstick or cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat and add the patties. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they reach your desired degree of doneness (I personally like my burgers cooked to medium-well). Top with slices of cheese for the last minute or two of cooking, or place under the broiler to melt.
Toast the buns, add the burger, and top with about 1 tablespoon of the jam. Serve immediately.