CELEBRATING VICTORIA DAY!
For many Canadians, Victoria Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. It is Canada’s oldest non-religious holiday and although we still hang on to the British Queen’s name (for old times’ sake), this truly Canadian holiday has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days and a lot to do with some great food.
This holiday is called ‘May 2-4’ in some parts of Canada, a name that refers both to the date around which the holiday falls (May 24th) and Canadian slang for a case of twenty-four beers (a ‘2-4’), the popular beverage during the long weekend.
I’m sure, for many this weekend, barbecuing will be up front and center with burgers, steaks and ribs taking top billing. By now we’ve all heard of or tasted Beer Can Chicken but what about Beer Can Burgers? One might think that the burgers were cooked with the beer can inside like the beer can chicken is. They’re not. The burgers are just shaped around the beer can or bottle, then they are filled with whatever you choose to put in them. What you’re trying to achieve is really just a bacon wrapped ‘cup‘ from the ground beef with a filling inside. After this you can either grill (with indirect heat) or bake them low & slow. The bacon renders and caramelizes, so the beef is flavored by both the bacon and the filling inside.
As for the fillings, the sky is the limit as long as you’re using something that’s both pre-cooked and can withstand the long slow cooking. Just a few ideas would be caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms, hash browns, cheese (of course!), avocado, chili etc. etc.
When making beer can burgers its good to use an 80/20 blend of beef and the standard (not thick) slice bacon. The thing about this kind of burger, is that they are best made with about 285 gms (about 10 oz.) so you can wrap two rows of bacon around them. Reason being, if made smaller, as the burger cooks, the meat shrinks and the filling falls out. The ideal height going up the can or bottle would be about 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 inches.
Beer can burgers can be baked in the oven or done on a grill. They are going to take some time to cook, about 50 minutes to an hour. Low and slow is the key so aim at about 300 F. Once they’re cooked, you can eat as is or add some tomato, lettuce, pickles, etc. I could hardly imagine anyone needing a bun with the size of these burgers … but?!
Whatever you decide to have today, the main thing just enjoy it!
- 567 gm (20 oz.) lean ground beef
- 1 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/4 tsp veg salt (Herbamare)
- 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
- 4 slices regular slice bacon
- Desired fillings, about 1/2 cup per burger
- 100 gm (50 gm per burger) Cheese, shredded or cubed
- 1 large sliced onion, caramelized
- 285 gm cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large avocado, thickly sliced
- Tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, optional
Topping Suggestions for 2
- In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil; add sliced or chopped onion & sprinkle with salt. Cook & stir about 15 minutes or until moisture is evaporated & onion is soft. Reduce heat; sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar & 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Cook, stirring until caramel brown in color. Transfer to a dish to cool.
- In the same skillet, add sliced mushrooms, minced garlic & a few drops of water (just to get them sautéing). Sauté until moisture evaporates. Set aside. Peel & cut avocado into 1/2-inch slices; set aside
- Shred or cube cheese of choice; set aside.
- In a bowl, combine ground beef with spices. Divide beef in half & form each piece into a ball. Place on a work surface; using a beer can or bottle, press down firmly. With your hands, form beef around can/bottle to a height of about 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches. Horizontally wrap, two slices of bacon, one to the bottom of the beef & the next just above on each burger. Carefully remove can/bottle.
- Set up grill for indirect heat at around 300 F. Alternately, set a wire rack over a rimmed, foil lined baking sheet & preheat oven to 300 F.
- Fill burgers with prepared fillings & cook for about 50 minutes or until meat is cooked. Once cooked, allow them to sit for a few minutes so the burgers & cheese firm up slightly without the burger losing its juiciness.
- Enjoy as is or top with whatever you prefer.