A few weeks ago, I was doing some grocery shopping, and I came across some freshly baked pretzel rolls in the bakery. They looked and smelled DELICIOUS, so I brought them home with me, with the plan to make some kind of burger using them. Somehow, the next couple days got away from me, before I had a chance to dream up/cook up my burgers, so I froze them to use later, once I’d had time to come up with something truly delicious. (Quick tip: if you like having fresh bread to eat with your meals, but hate stopping at the grocery store all the time to buy it, just buy a bunch and freeze it! I buy the 8-packs of ciabatta rolls at Sam’s Club, wrap them each individually in Glad Press N Seal wrap, and then put them all into a freezer bag. When we want some bread with our meal – or when I want to make meatball subs, or mini pizzas – I take out as many as I need, unwrap them, and place them into the cold oven. I set the oven to 350°, and by the time it has reached temperature, the bread is nicely thawed and warm!)
Anyways, yesterday was The Day. I had had some time to think about these burgers, and I knew I wanted to dress them up with classic soft pretzel toppings – gooey, melty cheese, and jalapeños. I mean, the only other standard soft pretzel topping I could come up with was mustard… and a hamburger with mustard is not exactly groundbreaking, you know? The more I brainstormed about the cheese (Velveeta, clearly) and jalapeños (fresh AND pickled), the more I wanted to add bacon… not exactly a standard soft pretzel topping, but incredibly delicious. Not to mention, I don’t eat burgers all that often – so when I do, I really want A BURGER. Something that’s messy and cheesy and piled high with delicious things that will need to be counteracted with several days of nothing but fruits and vegetables. And so, bacon made the list.
Jalapeño Bacon Cheeseburgers on Pretzel Rolls
1lb ground beef
1 large, fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
4 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into thick slices*
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp
4 pretzel rolls, split and toasted
*I realize some people think Velveeta is gross. I do not understand those people, but I know that they exist. If you want to use some other kind of cheese, feel free to do so – but some situations in life just call for the superior meltability and gooey-ness of Velveeta, and I think this is one of them. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s not like we’re making health food, here.
1.) In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the ground beef, minced fresh jalapeño, minced garlic, onion powder, kosher salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and worchestershire, using your hands. Only mix until everything is just combined, so you don’t end up with tough burgers!
2.) Form the beef mixture into 4 equal patties. Heat a large, cast iron skillet over medium heat, and add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to it, swirling to coat the pan. When the pan is nice and hot, add the burgers to the pan.
3.) Let the patties cook for about 5 minutes on the first side, and then flip them. Let them cook another 3 minutes or so, and then top them with the cheese. Loosely tent some foil over the pan for the last 2 minutes of cooking, so the cheese will fully melt.
4.) When the burgers are cooked and the cheese is melted, it’s assembly time! Place the burger onto the bottom of the bun, then top with pickled jalapeños, two slices of bacon per burger, and the top of the bun. Be forewarned, you may need a (long) toothpick or skewer to hold these together!
Oh MAN, were these burgers good. Totally over the top, but insanely tasty. I loved the little bits of fresh jalapeño in the burger itself – they added just the right amount of freshness and spice. Obviously, the melty cheese, crispy, smoky bacon, and the vinegary pickled jalapeños were awesome together; like a perfect marriage between a bacon cheeseburger, and a fully loaded soft pretzel. These burgers would still be awesome on a regular bun – but if you can find pretzel rolls (I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s recently), their crisp, slightly salty exterior is really a perfect complement to these burgers. For the record, my husband declared these to be “the second best burger” I’ve ever made (edged out just slightly by the fig-glazed burgers with red onion jam)… But if you ask me, these take the #1 spot, by a hair!
And now, I think I need a 3-day detox,