Garlic Gouda Bacon Burgers

The Gouda garlic bacon burger.
The Gouda garlic bacon burger.

Sometimes inspiration comes from desperation. I was browsing Instagram the other day and came across a post from Susie Bulloch (@heygrillhey) in which she was making garlic butter burgers (recipe on her website). I wanted them. Badly. I had the hamburger meat, so I was halfway there. However, I was stuck at home and we were out of garlic butter at my house. When in a pinch, the chef-minded folks would whip up some minced garlic with butter and make their own, but that bright idea didn’t cross my mind until I started typing this just now I decided to go a different route. We had some leftover Gouda in the fridge from when my family and I got creative on National Grilled Cheese Day. Speaking of which, who makes up all of these “National (fill-in-the-blank) Day” events? And why do I only hear about them the day of? Anyway, we also had bacon in the fridge (obviously) and garlic, so I thought I’d try something different and mix all of these ingredients together in a burger…and then smoke it! Not only had I never tried this food concoction before, but I had yet to smoke burgers. YOLO, I guess.

Ingredients: 

1 lb. ground beef 80/20

2 oz. smoked Gouda, sliced into tiny squares

1 clove garlic, minced

1 strip bacon, uncooked and chopped into tiny squares

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Montreal Steak seasoning to taste

Wood: cherry

Smoke Temperature: 250°F

Time: 75-90 minutes

Finish Temp.: 145°F or whichever level of doneness you prefer

Rest: 5-10 minutes

I like to buy the 80/20 ground beef because it has more of the fatty goodness and more fat equals more natural flavor. It’s also cheaper than the other ground beefs with less fat. With that said, use whichever beef you like.

First, I take the beef and put it on a cutting board. I’ve also mixed ingredients with hamburger meat in a mixing bowl, which might have been better to trap all of the ingredients.

Second, I take all of the other ingredients, minus the seasoning, and mix them altogether.

Third, I separate into 1/4 lb. patties. You are at liberty to make these as big or small as you like. When forming the patties, I like to make sure some bacon pieces are on the surface so they get a little sizzle when I sear afterward. It also looks kinda cool.

Now that the patties have been formed, I sprinkle Montreal Steak seasoning on both sides. Once again, feel free to use whichever seasoning you wish.

The patties have been prepped and await their trip to the smoker.
The patties have been prepped and await their trip to the smoker.

Before mixing the ingredients, you may want to get your smoker going to reach the internal temperature of 250°F. That way, you don’t have to sit around and wait longer for your burgers to go in. I used cherry wood this time because I wanted that hint of smoky, fruity flavor in it. Once your smoker has reached the right temperature, put the burgers on. Now you will wait about 75 minutes, which is an hour and 15 minutes for those keeping track at home. I want my burgers to reach an internal temperature of around 130 degrees when I pull them off because I want to make sure that they don’t overcook past the level of doneness that I like my meat done. Some of the burgers needed a little longer, so that’s why I put between 75-90 minutes in the recipe.

Oh look, I even smoked some bacon-wrapped corn! (I'll get to that another time)
Oh look, I even smoked some bacon-wrapped corn! (I’ll get to that another time)

When I sear on that high heat, I try not to spend too much time on each side as to burn the meat on the outside. I do want some nice-looking grill marks, but I also want to make sure that it doesn’t get overcooked inside. That’s why I use a digital thermometer to keep track of the temp.

Once done, I let them rest a little before serving. I do this because I want juices to sweat out a little bit and make the burger that much juicier when they touch the taste buds.

Burgers resting at 145°F internal temp.
Burgers resting at 145°F internal temp.

If you want your burger even cheesier, go ahead and slice some gouda and put on top and let it melt a little. I definitely recommend doing this.

Fact: burgers with cheese inside them are better with more cheese on top of them.
Fact: burgers with cheese inside them are better with more cheese on top of them.

I had some family visiting from out of state when I made these and I gave them a burger for the road.  My sister-in-law (who was one of the visitors) texted me later that night and told me it was no fair she doesn’t live closer because this was the best burger she’s had! I love the compliments like that. Is this the best burger you’ll ever have? That’s for you to decide. I hope it is at least worth it to you to make more than once. Now stop reading this post and go make your own!

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