After launching the revamped Meatwave site back in the spring, I could, for the first time, get a clear picture of my recipe bank and what subjects I've covered in excess, and which were not well represented. For all the burgers Ive'd cooked over the years, I was surprised I had only shared out five different topping combinations. I have certainly cooked way more than that and I made it short term priority to start documenting my beefy creations more to give all of you additional inspiration for your own home cookouts. So when I was craving a burger over Memorial Day, I chose to do something new and came up with this crazy delicious Peppadew burger.
The idea for this came a bit from Shake Shack's Smoke Shack burger and little from a favorite pizza of mine at a local joint called Pompieri. The Smoke Shack features a hot cherry pepper relish, while the pizza utilizes Peppadews in a really effective manner, and what I did was mash those two things up to make a relish out of Peppadews. If you haven't tried these peppers, they's pretty killer with a sweet and tangy start that turns fruity and spicy that delivers a ton of flavor in a small package.
I made the relish by finely chopping a bunch of Peppadews and adding them into a mixture of sugar and some of the vinegar brine from the Peppadew jar. I then added in shallots for a little sharpness and crunch, and mustard seeds that mostly provided a textural addition.
While the relish was bound to do a lot of heavy lifting in the flavor department, I also made a sauce too that was akin to a standard "secret burger sauce." These sauces are usually some mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard plus extra seasonings to make it unique. So that standard condiment trio started off my own sauce and then to give it an individual stamp, I mixed in brine from the Peppadew jar and garlic salt which gave the final sauce a little heat, tang, and garlicky flavor.
With a freezer still well stocked with multiple bacons I made in the spring, it was a no brainer to take a package out, defrost it, and use that incredible home cured and smoked pork belly for these burgers. Since the Peppadew relish had a bit of a kick, I thought the light sweetness of the maple-cured bacon would be a the right fit in this context to give the burger a salty and meaty heft without competing too much with everything else going on.
I'm really missing cooking for large crowds this summer because there's a lot of things I'll do when cooking for others that I don't for myself, and one of those things is grinding my own beef for burgers. My home ground meat is usually fattier and tastier than what I get at the grocery store, but it is kind of a hassle to bust out and then clean the meat grinder, so that extra effort isn't something I usually want to tackle when making just two burgers like on this day. I did get the fattiest ground chuck my supermarket offered though, which was 20%, and to make the patties I just broke off 1/3 a pound of meat, lightly worked it into a patty that held together, put a little dimple in the center that helps the burger stay flatter during cooking, and then seasoned it heavily with salt and pepper.
I cooked the patties over direct heat, flipping often for even cooking, until they were well seared and clocked in the rare territory range—between 110-115°F.
I then moved the patties to indirect heat and added a slice of low-moisture mozzarella on each. Like with my bacon consideration, I didn't want a cheese that was going to add too much flavor to something that already had a lot of different flavors going on, so neutral mozzarella felt like it would bring that creaminess I wanted without any extra baggage, plus a pizza was one of my inspiration points for this burger, so that further cemented mozzarella as the cheese of choice.
After covering the grill and allowing the cheese to melt, the burger's temperature had reached my desired medium-rare state—125°F. I then removed the patties from the grill and quickly toasted the potato rolls that I use as the standard bun for most all burgers I make at home.
Next, final burger assembly commenced with the placement of the patties on the toasted bun followed by a generous portion of the Peppadew relish, two slices of bacon that I halved to be an appropriate burger size, and then the top of the bun that I had slathered with the sauce.
And there it is, my sixth entry into ways to top a beef burger, and this one is a true winner. Of course the patty was beefy, juicy, and delicious, but the real story was how this topping combination worked with those already big, beef flavors. The relish was sweet, tangy, and spicy, although it didn't taste as hot as it did on its own thanks to the cooling power of the creamy mozzarella. The bacon added a good crunch and saltiness without competing with the burger or relish too much, while the sauce just did what a good sauce does by adding some moisture with a bit of sweetness, tang, and pungency. While I savored every bite of these burgers, I couldn't help but also be thinking about what to do next, knowing that I need to give this staple of the backyard cookout a little more love on this site.
- Yield 6 servings
- Prep 15 Minutes
- Cook 20 Minutes
- Total 35 Minutes
- For the Relish
- 2 tablespoons brine from Peppadew jar
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more to taste
- 25 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- Kosher salt
- For the Sauce
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons brine from Peppadew jar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- For the Burgers
- 2lbs ground beef chuck, 80% lean
- 12 slices bacon
- 6 slices low moisture mozzarella cheese
- 6 hamburger buns, preferably potato buns
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the relish: In a small bowl, whisk together brine and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Add in Peppadew peppers, shallots, and mustard seeds; stir to combine. Season with salt and more sugar to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, brine, and garlic salt. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the burgers: Break off 1/3 pound of ground beef and gently shape into a patty, working the meat until it just holds together. Using your thumb, create a dimple in the middle of the burger. Repeat with remaining ground beef. Season patties liberally all over with salt and pepper.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on either side of the charcoal grate. Place a foil pan between the two piles of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean grilling grate. Lay bacon slices on grilling grate above foil pan. Cover grill and cook until bacon begins to shrink in size and develop pools of fat, about 5 minutes. Flip bacon slices over, cover, and continue to cook until bacon is deeply browned and crisp, 5-8 minutes more. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Place patties on hot sides of grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until well charred and burgers register 110°F on an instant read thermometer inserted into center of patty. Move burgers to cool area of grill, top with cheese, cover, and continue to cook until cheese is melted and burgers register 125°F for medium-rare or 135°F for medium. Transfer burgers to a plate.
- Place buns, cut side down, on hot sides of grill until toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer buns to a serving platter and top each with a patty, Peppadew relish, and bacon. Spread sauce along the remaining halves of buns and place on top of burgers. Serve immediately.