Bacon Manchego Cheese Burger

In the beginning, we fielded a lot of complaints about our bacon Manchego cheese burger. Not about the burger itself. (It’s perfect.) Just that a Spanish restaurant had a burger on the menu. But burgers are everywhere in Spain—especially in Madrid—and whenever I’ve visited I’ve always been able to find one, which is crucial when you’re sick of seafood and craving something simpler. Beyond that line of burger defense, we’ve always wanted to be an affordable neighborhood restaurant with a really top-notch $10 burger. This is it.–John Gorham and Liz Crain

LC Best. Burger. Ever. Note

Chances are you’ve not had a burger like this before. Not just because of the Spanish-inspired accoutrements, which result in it being, essentially, a bacon Manchego cheese burger, but because of the burger itself. See, the authors rely on a cut of meat called the chuck flap, which is a large section of rib meat with a lot of extremely beefy flavor. It’s essentially a particular kind of chuck. Four parts ground chuck to one part ground rib eye works just dandy in its place in the recipe below. (One of our dear and discerning recipe testers did the math for us, and it equates to 2.4 ounces ground rib eye and 9.6 ounces ground chuck. Besos, Robert!) Best. Burger. Ever. Olé!

Bacon Manchego Cheese Burger Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes 2 burgers

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces beef, preferably chuck flap or another cut that’s 15% to 18% fat (see LC Note above)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices young (aged just 3 to 6 months) Manchego cheese (1 ounce each)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 hamburger buns, preferably sesame seeded, split
  • 2 tablespoons Romesco Sauce
  • 1 cup mesclun greens or arugula (optional)
  • 12 to 16 slices Pickled Zucchini (optional)

Directions

  • 1. If the butcher didn’t grind the beef for you, grind it in the food processor until it’s relatively fine. Immediately put it in a stand mixer and paddle the meat on medium for 1 minute.
  • 2. Shape the meat into 2 equal-size patties, each about 6 ounces and, ideally, slightly larger than the buns. (The authors use small cazuelas to shape theirs. They put a piece of plastic wrap in each cazuela and form the burgers to that size and then cover and refrigerate them.) Salt and pepper both sides of the patties.
  • 3. In a medium cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until slightly crisped. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Discard all but 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan and crank the heat to medium-high. Cook the patties for 1 to 2 minutes on one side, so they get a nice char. Flip the patties and place first the bacon, followed by the cheese, on the already cooked side. Cover and cook for another minute for medium-rare burgers. If you prefer a less-pink burger, simply cook another minute or two on each side.
  • 4. Meanwhile, butter the buns and place them, cut side down, in another skillet over medium-high heat until nicely toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 5. Slather 1 tablespoon Romesco onto the bottom half of each butter-toasted bun. Place the burger patties on top of the Romesco and garnish each burger with greens and 6 to 8 slices Pickled Zucchini, if using. Plonk the top half of the bun on the stack of bacon cheeseburger goodness and serve.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Susan Burgess

Apr 01, 2014

Excellent bacon Manchego cheese burger recipe! I used high-quality ground chuck. The Manchego was young rather than aged, purchased from the supermarket deli, and the portion of cheese on each burger was about an ounce. My favorite burger bun these days is a lightly butter-toasted ciabatta roll. Served on that with arugula and Kim O’Donnel's recipe for romesco sauce from the site [Editor's Note: You'll find a link to this recipe in the ingredient list above], it was perfection. Speaking of perfection, the cast-iron skillet method was great; 2 to 3 minutes on one side and then covered and cooked on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes achieved medium doneness, just the way I like my burger. I might have had an ounce or two more than 6 ounces of meat per burger. I loved using a cazuela to form the burgers and have adopted that hint! I decided in favor of dill pickle slices over pickled zucchini. I highly recommend this juicy, tasty hamburger—and a glass of Borsao to go with it.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Apr 01, 2014

Although this bacon Manchego cheese burger recipe has some very strong flavors at work, it's not an overpowering or heavy dish. The light tang in the zucchini pickles blends well with the spice in the romesco and lifts the overall taste from potentially overwhelming to satisfyingly sublime. The romesco was wonderful and could be used on a variety of other sandwiches. While Manchego cheese is a great complement to this burger, not everyone at my dinner table enjoys Manchego, so I let them select their preferred cheese. Extra sharp Cheddar, Havarti, and provolone were used as fantastic alternatives. The cooking time for the burgers themselves is spot-on for a rarer burger. If less pink is desired, an extra 2 to 3 minutes does the trick. This burger deserves a great bun. I purchased some gourmet sesame seed buns at the butcher shop where I selected my meat. It was a beautiful burger that would present well for a special occasion or elevate a weekday meal. It didn't disappoint. Preparing the romesco and zucchini chips in advance really makes this burger very simple to put together. A day or two of rest for the romesco really does allow the flavor of the sauce to develop and deepen.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Apr 01, 2014

Sometimes my body just craves a burger, and this bacon Manchego cheese burger recipe sure hit the spot. Now, saying that this burger takes 30 minutes total to make is a bit misleading. You need to start making the components of this dish at least a day ahead of time. On to the components.

Pickled Zucchini
I made 1/4 of this recipe, and that made far more than enough pickles. The finished product was very good. I am not sure whether or not you can tell that these are zucchini pickles and not pickles made with cucumbers.

Romesco Sauce
I made 2 cups romesco sauce to put 1 tablespoon each on the bottom of 2 hamburger buns. Although there are many things to do with romesco sauce, I do wish that I hadn't made the whole recipe. This particular romesco was quite dark due to the 3 dried ancho chile peppers that I used. They were also quite smoky, so I did not add the optional smoked paprika.

And the burger.
I bought a young Manchego, aged 3 months, which was very tasty on the burgers. I loved cooking the burgers in the bacon fat. I cooked them for 2 minutes on one side, then turned them over. They needed 2 more minutes to be perfectly medium-rare. What was nice was that the burgers were beautifully cooked from top to bottom. There was no grayness at all on the top or the bottom of the burger. I am a big fan of grilling burger buns, so it was nice to see it called for in the recipe.

The finished product, with so many flavors was wonderful. Nothing clashed. Everything worked together and complemented everything else very well.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Apr 01, 2014

There's a lot of work to this bacon Manchego cheese burger, but it's certainly worth the effort. I suggest making the pickles and the romesco a day or two ahead of time to make the preparation go very quickly. The burger meat is very flavorful with the addition of the ground rib eye to the ground chuck. The rib eye adds to the cost, but again, it's well worth it. I used baby arugula as a substitution for the mesclun, and its peppery flavor was the perfect complement to the Manchego, bacon, and romesco. Unfortunately, the bottom burger bun became very soggy from the sauce being placed directly on it. To correct this the next time, I'll place the burger patty directly on the bottom half of the bun and slather the romesco sauce on top of the patty, followed by the lettuce and pickles. Pickling the zucchini was very simple. I used my mandoline to slice the zucchini 1/8 inch thick. Since the mandoline was already out of the cabinet and sitting on the counter, I also used it to julienne the onion and to slice the Manchego. I only made a small amount of pickled zucchini. It was easy to cool them in the pan they were boiled in, so I skipped the step to transfer them to a shallow pan before placing them in a glass jar. The romesco sauce is the same as the one I recall testing in 2010 and is currently posted on the Leite’s site. In the case of this burger recipe, only a small amount of bread is needed to make the sauce.

Testers Choice
Robert Castagna

Apr 01, 2014

This bacon Manchego cheese burger recipe was excellent. I used the the rib eye and chuck mixture (2.4 ounces ground rib eye and 9.6 ounces ground chuck). Romesco is not typically served with beef, but with the addition of cheese, this worked wonderfully. I want to try exploring these ingredients in meatloaf and meatballs, tapas-style.


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