July 26, 2018
Ultimate Keto Burger | The Bacon Smash Burger
The Ultimate Keto Burger: The Bacon Smash Burger
It doesn’t get any more American than the hamburger. A good cheeseburger is synonymous with everything from backyard barbecues on the Fourth of July to the dinner celebration after winning the Little League game on a Saturday afternoon. Everyone like hamburgers. They are in the very fabric of American culture with every area of the US having their own regional styles.
A burger is a very simple creation, although it’s not always easy to do well. At its most simple, a burger consists of meat and a bun. It’s the latter which proves difficult for those of us choosing to ditch the carbs and follow the keto lifestyle. Many people choose to just scrap the bun and eat the burger naked. To be honest, in a pinch, it’s what I do as well. It’s easy, low hassle, and you can easily keto’ify a meal at any fast food joint in a hurry.
But sometimes you want a little more. You want a bun. You could go through the process of making some sort of faux bread bun. Recipes for those you can easily find on any of the other keto websites. I have a special little disdain I harbor for most keto bread though. This stems from two factors. One is that they all use the keto Frankenstein flours which are problematic for a couple different reasons. For instance, almond flour when cooked creates a lot of oxidized fats which equal free radicals. Secondly, it’s high in PUFA’s which can lead to increased inflammation. Neither is great for your health. Another option is coconut flour. Everyone in the keto community seems to be infatuated with coconuts, from their flour to their oil. But, if you’re trying to eat seasonally, which might be a good idea from a chronobiological standpoint, coconuts tend to be limited for most of the year. So, what are we to do? How will we make the ultimate keto burger?
After making the Bacon Crust Pizza and loving the results I wondered what other foods could benefit from the miracle of modern gastronomy that is the bacon weave. As far as macros are concerned, bacon is the perfect food. It only stands to reason that if you can use it to fashion a bun, that it might be worth a try.
Bacon weaves work well when two sets of criteria are met. One is if the dish already has bacon involved with it. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want bacon on your burger, so we’ll just go ahead and check that hypothetical box. The second criteria are that the bacon is being paired with other strong or meaty flavors. This is because a bacon weave is a lot of bacon. If the other flavors are too delicate, the bacon could overpower the rest of the flavors. Being as this is a keto burger recipe the other two main ingredients are meat and cheese. I think we’ll be fine in that department too.
In testing this keto burger recipe my other taste testers were unsure of how this would turn out. The common concern being that this would be way too much bacon. However, if the weave is cut to the size of the patties and you put a decent amount of meat in the patties or make it a double, it’s not an issue. Between me and my three other taste testers, we all thought it was great, surprisingly so. But, to be honest, it’s meat, cheese, and bacon….what’s not to like?
What is a smash burger?
This type of burger is reminiscent of the kind that old-school diners make. Their burgers get smashed down on a hot griddle leaving the burger patties thin and crispy. Smash burgers seem to break every rule of burger making for a lot of people though. They’re kind of counter-intuitive. It’s common to hear that you absolutely, under no circumstance, ever want to press a burger down while it’s cooking. If you do, then all the juices will flow out and the burger will be dry and the consistency of a meat sponge. But, this is only partially true. The key here is WHEN the burger is pressed down. You have to smash when the beef is still cold. Then the fat is still solid and the juices are still held within the muscle fibers. It’s when the meat gets hot that things start to flow. So, the trick is to use chilled beef and to only press it down in the first 15 to 20 seconds of the meat hitting the heat. If you abide by this rule, then the juices mostly stay put.
But, why smash in the first place? The answer is the Maillard Reaction. The Maillard Reaction is why a steak cooked on the grill tastes better than one boiled in water. That golden brown crust that forms on a steak or piece of chicken is due to this reaction and is the reason it tastes so good. So, why do we smash? Because this is how we maximize the Maillard Reaction to the nth degree. This will form a delicious crust on the burger that makes those greasy diner or Shack Shack burgers taste so damn good.
Another aspect of a good smashed burger is the melty cheese. Only one cheese is up to the job, and that cheese is American. Normally I’m not a fan of American Cheese. But, in this instance, it’s the only one that’ll do the job justice. Just like a Philly Cheesesteak doesn’t taste right without Kraft Cheese Wiz (on an authentic Philly, provolone sucks…come at me bro), a smashed burger just isn’t right without the melty orangey mess that American Cheese turns into on top of a burger. If you don’t believe me, do a side by side comparison.
Low Carb Burger Toppings
There is a wide world out there of different burger toppings. I, however, am a minimalist when it comes to burgers. I don’t like a ton of toppings and I absolutely oppose any plant material on there other than onions or hot peppers. But that’s just me. If you like lettuce, mushrooms, pickles, whatever you want to shove under that bacon bun, by all mean, go hog wild. Just keep your carb count in mind with your toppings.
You’ll notice at the end of the video that I didn’t put any sauce on the keto burger. Immediately after I filmed this video I filmed a review of a keto BBQ sauce. That sauce I tested on the burger. That review will be the next article and video out so you won’t have long to wait. Use whatever sauce you like, keeping an eye on carbs. Grocery stores now carry low carb options for ketchup and BBQ sauce. Mustard and Mayonnaise are already low in carbs so you can definitely go that route as well. In short, use whatever you want on the keto burger. Don’t let my lack of imagination thwart you. 😉