Inspired by Grant Achatz’ fabulous charcuterrie burger, I asked my husband what he would think of the combination. “I’m allergic to onion and garlic and not a fan of chopped egg whites,” was his reply. Still inspired, and now desperately hungry, I decided to create my yown take on the dish. My rendition is super juicy thanks to grass fed 80% lean beef. You may use leaner beef, but be warned it will affect both taste and texture! Soft, fried apple ring, thick cut bacon, and Extra Cheese add complexity, while the great sauce just gilds the lily. Make this dish – it will be requested again and again!

Bistro Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp finely minced sour pickles (you may use cornichons, garlic gherkins, or dill relish instead)
2 Tbsp finely minced capers
1 tsp finely minced fresh parsley
1tsp finely minced thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
Pinch salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Burgers –

8 slices extra thick applewood or other naturally smoked bacon, the thicker the better
1 1/3 lb ground beef (80% lean – grassfed tastes best)
1 1/2 tsp (plus a pinch) kosher salt
Ground black pepper

2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced 1/2″ thick
1 tsp butter
8 slices Gruyere cheese (you may need to slice this yourself)
fresh spinach leaves, whole or sliced
4 World’s Easiest hamburger buns, made with 1 c batter each, cooled and sliced in half horizontally, or use your favorite commercial bun (I did!)

In a small bowl, combine the mayo ingredients and refrigerate.

In a large, very heavy skillet (like a cast iron), begin to brown the bacon. Saute over medium heat until the fat renders out and the bacon is crisp and golden brown. Set the bacon aside.

VERY gently form the beef into 4 patties – poke a hole in the center of each to ensure even cooking, so that the burgers look like donuts, about 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle liberally with the salt and pepper. and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place back in the fridge until your pan is ready for them.

Using the bacon fat in the skillet, turn the heat up until the fat begins to smoke. Immediately add the apple slices and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes. using a large spatula, flip the slcies. Cook on the other side until browned on the other side, another 2 minutes or so. Add butter allow to melt into the apples and bacon fat, about 2 minutes. Remove the apples from the pan, and set aside, securely wrapped to stay warm (foil wrapped plate is good).

Turn the skillet heat down to medium-high.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large ovenproof saute pan on high until the oil begins to smoke. Add the burger patties, and cook, without moving the meat, until the bottoms of the burgers caramelize and develop a crust, about 2 1/2 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the patties and cook for another 2 1/2 minute more.

Spread 1/8 of the bsitro mayo on each half of your hamburger bun. Remove the hot burgers from the panand place the burger patties on the bottom half of each bun. Immediately top with a slice or two of cheese, the fresh spinach (use as much as you prefer), a few pieces of bacon and two slices of apple, then the bun tops. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings