I have tried to practice great restraint regarding sharing bacon recipes over the past few weeks for fear readers will think I’m only grilling food wrapped in bacon this summer! I’ve been bursting at the seams to share this recipe however: Grill-Smoked Green Chile Burgers in a Bacon Weave. I’ve loved working with bacon on the grill and was reminded of that when taking Smoked Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chile Peppers to a party last weekend. With only four ingredients and being easily smoked on a gas or charcoal grill, it is the quintessential summer appetizer to me. Mesquite-Smoked Jalapeno Cheese Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs are pretty darn delicious too!
It was love at first sight for me with the bacon weave. We first met at Steven Raichlen’s BBQU in June when one was made to outfit a Toledo Torpedo or a ‘fatty’; polska kielbasa sausages wrapped with ground sausage and cheese and finally wrapped with a bacon weave, left to smoke to cook it through. The woven look of the pork lattice both captured my sense of aesthetics and adventuresome creativity with my grilling ideas. I knew it was something I needed to incorporate into my repertoire.
Bacon weaves can be used for many things; covering meat, laying on a turkey in the oven or grill or a small mat to add to a sandwich. They help keep the meat moist when used as a wrap. They are easy to make and I’ve created a step-by-step photo tutorial for your reference.
In the case of these Green Chile Burgers the bacon weave adds a depth of flavor that is irresistible. The wrapped burgers are cooked over indirect heat (meaning the grill is not on below them) and allowed to smoke to cook through imparting more flavor from the wood smoke. I should note that the method of adding smoke in the smoked recipes I’ve shared this summer does not require an official smoker. A simple piece of heavy foil with some wood chips placed over the lit side of the grill does the trick. As the wood chips smoke over the heat in the closed grill, the smoke flavor penetrates the food being cooked. Additional chips are added as needed during the grilling process and the result is an earthy, smoky layer of flavor.
The burgers we are smoking today are a formidable size. Third pound burgers covered with 6 pieces of bacon in the weave. Should you find that’s a bit too big, I have a trick for you. After the burgers are fully cooked and rested, slicing through the middle horizontally creates two burgers regular (still burger diameter) perfect for a bun but half the meat. Add some fresh tomato slices and lettuce for a fresh BLT flavor!
Grill-Smoked Green Chile Burgers in a Bacon Weave
- 2 pounds Ground Beef (80/20 blend)
- 4- ounce can Diced Green Chilies , drained
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped Red Onion
- 1 ½ cup grated ‘Mexican Blend’ (if purchasing pre-grated) or a mix of Cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack
- 36 plus a few extra slices of thick , center cut Bacon; well chilled
- Mesquite Wood Chips for smoking
- Extras: Hamburger buns , thick slices of fresh tomato, Butter lettuce leaves, slices of red onion
- Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl and break it up with your hands. Add the green chilies, red onion and grated cheese. Mix well by kneading with your hands.
- Form 6 1/3-pound patties. Place on a plate or small baking sheet, cover and refrigerate.
Making the Bacon Weave (refer to the collage above):
- On a piece of wax paper, lay three strips of bacon horizontally with the long edges touching. Fold back the middle piece of bacon in half.
- Place a fourth strip of bacon vertically across the top bacon slice, middle gap and bottom bacon. Fold the middle piece of horizontal bacon back over the vertical piece of bacon.
- To the right of the vertical slice of bacon, fold the top and bottom slices of bacon back over the vertical slice of bacon. Place a fifth slice of bacon vertically over the top gap, middle bacon and bottom gap; fold the top and bottom horizontal bacon back over the fifth piece of bacon.
- On the left of the first vertical strip of bacon, fold the top and bottom pieces back over the vertical strip of bacon. Place the last vertical strip over the top gap, middle bacon and bottom gap and fold the horizontal strips of bacon back.
- Place a second piece of wax paper over the top of the bacon weave. Using a rolling pin, gently roll over the bacon weave to bring all of the edges together and create a uniform thickness. Remove and discard the top piece of wax paper.
- Place one of the hamburgers in the middle of the bacon weave. Fold the ends of the bacon back over the burger to fully cover the back of the burger.
- Gently turn the burger over and place back on the plate or pan, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before grilling. Repeat with the remaining burgers and bacon.
Grilling the burgers:
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for INDIRECT grilling (the heat is to the side of the food). Place a drip pan, disposable foil pan or sheet of foil with edges crimped upward underneath the cooking grate to catch fat rendering from the burgers. Heat to 350 degrees. When at temperature, clean and oil the grill. Place a smoker box or piece of heavy foil over the heated side of the grill and add a handful of mesquite wood chips.
- Gently add the burgers to the unheated side of the grill, with the lattice side up and close the lid.
- Cook until the internal temperature of the burgers reaches 155 degrees for medium (the temperature will increase to 160 degrees while they rest off the grill); about 45-60 minutes. Remove and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Excess rendered fat on the bacon may be dabbed with a paper towel if desired.