I recently read a magazine article about the types of ground beef available for making home-made burgers. The article very much favoured the inclusion of some type of bacon as an addition to the mix, even giving suggestions on the correct ratio and instructions on what to ask your butcher for. (80% chuck beef to 20% slab bacon, it recommended). It sounded like an ingenious creation as everyone loves some salty, sweet bacon atop their burger, why not include it in the mix, ensuring some of the taste throughout every bite. The burgers I noticed at my local supermarket had notched up the ante by not only including bacon but also grated cheese in the burger mix. A cheeseburger in every bite. Of course we had to try them. Did the bacon make a difference? You bet it did.
Unfortunately, they were a little dry, but that is a result of the combination of over zealous use of coals while still white hot, and the paranoia of "are you sure that's cooked?" The flavour of the bacon added an element that is subtle but definitely evident enough to inform your taste buds that something different is there. Salty, sweet, spicy, it makes the burger more interesting and flavourful. The cheese also adds some interest, melting into the meat and giving a more creamy texture. Imagine the possibilities. How about prosciutto, pancetta or Serrano ham instead? (Although if they are too lean, you should include some fat to keep the burger juicy). What about blue cheese, Swiss, Mozzarella etc? I'm sure many of these combinations have been tried many times with success and Saveur magazine once devoted an entire edition to the burger, where they suggested such additions to the ground beef as anchovies, capers and red wine, (not together). Another interesting fact: I recently read that there is some belief, (even among restaurants), that it is illegal to serve a burger rare or medium rare in Vancouver. According to the post, (see link at left), this is because most restaurants do not trust their source. If you want to serve yours pink, be sure to make your own with good quality beef.