Pepper Crusted Bacon Cheeseburgers

In my world there’s nothing better than a burger cooked on a super hot flat top griddle. Boy do I love that nice little char you get on the patties. These pepper crusted bacon cheeseburgers amp up that great flat top (though you can certainly grill them!) flavor even more.

The patties are loaded with sweet onion and lots of black pepper. Lots of black pepper. Crispy bacon, lettuce, smoky cheese and a fantastically garlicky aioli top it all off Every bite is loaded with flavor.
Pepper Crusted Bacon CheeseburgersDo not be shy with the black pepper when you roll the burger patties in it. You really want a good strong pepper flavor. I used smoked pepper but any good freshly cracked pepper will do. For extra smoky flavor used smoked garlic instead of regular raw garlic.

Also try my spicy bacon burger!

Pepper Crusted Bacon Cheeseburgers

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the garlic aioli

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon parsley minced

For the burgers

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream you can omit this if you don't have cream on hand
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • 8 slices smokehouse cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon cooked

Instructions

For the garlic aioli

  • Place garlic in a small bowl. Add the salt and mash with a fork until it becomes a paste.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the burgers

  • Place beef into a large bowl.
  • Great 2 tablespoons of the onion into the beef. Slice the remaining onion thin.
  • Add cream, salt and pepper and mix well. Form into 8 1/4 pound patties.
  • Spread cracked black pepper out onto a plate. Lightly press each side of each patty into the pepper.
  • Cook patties as desired. I prefer them grilled on a flat-top griddle, but you can also cook them in a skillet.
  • Lightly toast the buns.
  • Assemble burgers by slathering buns with the garlic aioli. Add the lettuce, cooked patties, cheese and bacon and serve.

Baked Bacon

Baked bacon is one of my favorite things. A little time, a little seasoning and I’ve got a wonderful treat. I like my bacon to not be super-duper crunchy. Just a little bite is perfect. For me, baking is easier than cooking bacon in a skillet and I get a more-consistently cooked product (with minimal curling!). With less mess, too.

When I worked at the cafeteria at a large army base outside of Washington DC we would bake an unbelievable amount of bacon. And specially for Saturday morning’s buffet. Rack after rack after rack of bacon. I started as a dishwasher. Nothing was harder than scrubbing stack after stack of large sheet pans that had pieces of bacon stuck to them. I avoid that now by lining my pans with foil. A teen making minimum wage was probably cheaper than foil back in the day, so we didn’t line the pans at the cafeteria. We also didn’t season the bacon, something I really love to do.
Baked Bacon

If you’re planning on draining off the bacon drippings to use for other purposes, you might want to skip the seasoning all-together, or strain it first to remove any spice pieces.

For cleanup I take the paper towel that I drained the bacon on and toss it onto the baking sheet to absorb any grease. I fold up the sides of the foil and seal it tightly to create a packet that can be tossed into the bin without having to worry about it leaking.

Baked bacon is also a great way to use up those last bits of the spices you have in the pantry. You know the ones, they’ve been in there forever waiting for you to figure out what to do with them. Well, know you know!

Baked Bacon

Cook Time 35 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • bacon thin- or thick-sliced
  • seasonings see notes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. For thick or crisper bacon you can go as high as 400 F.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Lay the bacon out onto the baking sheet. Do not overlap the pieces or let them touch.
  • Sprinkle the top side of the bacon with the seasoning.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. The bacon will still be mostly uncooked.
  • Flip and season the other side. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until the desired doneness is achieved. I like my bacon done, but only lightly crispy. Thin bacon usually takes a total of 35 minutes, while thick can take 45 minutes or longer.
  • Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain then serve.

Notes

Do not use seasonings that contain a lot of sugar. If your seasonings contain a lot of salt I recommend using them sparingly as the bacon is already salty to begin with if it has been salt-cured.
I usually use Grill Mates from McCormick. Todd's Dirt is also a favorite, along with any of the mixes from AlbuKirky Seasonings.
Sometime bacon, specially thinner slices, can be hard to separate when removing it from the packaging. I freeze my bacon for a few minutes to make the pieces easier to remove. Just don't put the bacon in the freezer and forget about it!

Mississippi Mud Cheesy Potatoes

I’m lucky in that I usually love darn near everything i make. These Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes are definitely no exception. In fact, love may be an understatement. Anita and I both devoured them. You just can’t beat the tender potatoes, ooey gooey cheese, crunchy smoky bacon, and green onions. It’s a lot like having a loaded baked potato, and yep, you guessed it, I love loaded baked potatoes too.
Mississippi Mud Cheesy PotatoesThe only possible change (and really, it’s a stretch perhaps) I would make to these Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes would be to add a roasted jalapeno or two. Actually, that’s not a stretch at all. Or maybe a pinch or two of smoked paprika or chipotle powder. Yeah, I’m going that for sure now!

Also make my delicious melting potatoes.

Mississippi Mud Cheesy Potatoes

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 cups Russet potatoes diced (about 5 medium potatoes)
  • 1 pound shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound thin-sliced bacon cooked, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325 F.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
  • Bake for 1 hour until the potatoes are tender.

Spicy Bacon Burger

Messy and spicy. That’s all I need to know. Plenty of crispy bacon too. And a little of ‘garden’. Nothing really that fancy, just a good juicy spicy bacon burger with plenty of kick. Thanks to the spicy cheese and a very spicy sauce.
spicy-bacon-burgerI usually cook my burgers on the grill, but not on the grates. Instead I use a griddle insert that is made of cast iron. The insert gets screaming hot, like a griddle from a diner. You know, the diners that make great burgers. When you cook on grates the juices drip down into the grill, lost forever. When you cook on the griddle the juices hang out, flavoring the patties and keeping them moist. You can’t go wrong griddling burgers in my opinion. You can also cook the bacon on the griddle, but I usually bake my bacon.

Also try my Louisiana burgers and my butter burgers. And you have to have my pepper crusted bacon cheeseburgers! They’re all seriously good.

Spicy Bacon Burger

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings

Ingredients

For the burger

  • 1 pound ground beef I prefer a 85/15% mix
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices smoked bacon
  • 3 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • 3 slices extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices habanero jack cheese
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • 6 thin slices tomato
  • 6 thin slices red onion

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce

Instructions

For the burger

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Divide the ground beef into 3 equally sized patties. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Place bacon slices on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping once, until done but not overly crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Fire up your grill and cook the burgers until the desired doneness is reached.
  • Toast the buns if desired.
  • Top patties with cheese and melt.
  • Slather the buns with the sauce. Add the patties, lettuce, tomato, red onion and cooked bacon.

For the sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Breakfast Pizza

I was digging around in the bottom of the fridge when I came across a tub of pizza dough. A quick check of the freezer found that I didn’t have any pizza sauce. And no ‘normal’ pizza toppings in the fridge, either. Well, I figured that this was the opportune time to make a breakfast pizza. I can’t say I went into the project with great optimism. Well, I’ve been wrong before. This breakfast pizza was easy to make and came out tasting fantastic. It was a welcomed twist on a regular ole pizza.
Breakfast PizzaOf course you can add more toppings. Such as crumbled cooked breakfast sausage. Roasted red bell peppers. Salsa. Hot sauce.  Jalapeno slices. Use my version of breakfast pizza as sort of a canvas for whatever you want to do. You can’t mess it up. Also make my breakfast po boy and my egg McMuffin casserole.

Breakfast Pizza

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped bacon
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 4 ounces cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Fresh chopped cilantro if desired

Instructions

  • Open dough and prepare per package instructions but bake only 4-6 minutes until the crust just starts to ge crusty. Remove from oven.
  • Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Drain all but 1 teaspoon of the drippings.
  • Add eggs, lower heat to medium low, and cook, stirring constantly, until just starting to set.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle egg over cooked dough.
  • Drop cubes of cream cheese onto crust. Add the pepperjack, red onion and bacon.
  • Return to oven and bake 10-13 more minutes or until the cheeses have melted and the crust is crunchy and golden brown.
  • Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.

Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Peppers

I absolutely loved these bacon cheese-stuffed peppers. Every bite was full of my favorite things, like cheese and bacon. And a bit of sharp onion and sweet roasted bell pepper. I left the onions fairly crunchy because I was looking for a great crunch (along with the crunch of the bacon) to contrast the soft pepper and gooey cheese. You can cook yours further if you want but don’t go overboard. Crunch here is a good thing.
bacon-cheese-stuffed-peppersFor a spicier version, substitute habanero jack cheese for the cheeses, and use poblano peppers instead of red bell peppers. A sprinkle or two of red pepper flake on top isn’t going to hurt anything either. You can’t go wrong with bacon cheese-stuffed peppers no matter how you change them up (if you do).

Also try my sausage-stuffed Hatch chiles.

Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Peppers

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound thick cut bacon
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Beer
  • 1/4 cup white onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup more or less Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup more or less mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and add the bacon.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until crisp, turning once. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Cut peppers in half vertically. Remove any seeds.
  • Place peppers on a baking dish and fill the halves with the beer. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, crumble the bacon into a bowl and add the onion and cheeses.
  • Uncover the peppers and pour off any remaining beer. Fill cavities with the bacon mixture and return to the oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.

Bacon-Glazed Spiral Ham

What’s better than spiral ham? Bacon-glazed spiral ham, of course. It’s spiral-ham-sale-time here, so I backed up the truck and grabbed a nice big smoked ham. Of course, they’re easy to reheat. And just as easy to glaze during the last 30 minutes. The bacon glaze adds a bit more smokiness, but also some sweetness, a little tartness and a little tang thanks to two different kinds of mustard.
Bacon-Glazed Spiral HamYou can substitute pretty much any jelly you want, but I’d stay away from ‘darker’ ones, such as blueberry or the like. Go for lighter colors. And don’t be afraid to use a spicy jelly such as jalapeno pepper jelly. You may also want to double the amount of bacon-glaze, serving any leftover glaze as a drizzle over the sliced ham when you serve it. Bacon-glazed spiral ham is a wonderful thing and more glaze is… more wonderful!

Also try my cherry-glazed spiral ham. My pepper onion beer sauce makes for a great topping for ham!

Bacon-Glazed Spiral Ham

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 1 ham

Ingredients

  • 1 7-8 pound smoked spiral ham

For the glaze

  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard

Instructions

  • Warm ham in oven per package instructions.
  • During the last 30 minutes of cooking, apply glaze liberally every 10 minutes.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

For the glaze

  • Cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet.
  • Remove the bacon and all of the grease but keep the yum-yum bacon bits that remain in the pan.
  • Return pan to the stove over low heat.
  • Add the jelly and allow it to melt.
  • Whisk in the honey and the mustards. Remove from heat until ready to glaze the ham.

Sausage-Stuffed Hatch Chiles

I bought a case of Hatch chiles the other day. Most of the chiles ended up being roasted, but I kept a few for these sausage-stuffed Hatch chiles. Now I’m wishing that I’d kept a bunch more of the un-roasted peppers on hand because they sure make some fantastic dishes.

I could’ve served this as an appetizer or as a main dish but I went the main dish route, and backed up the truck. I wasn’t shy about how many I put on my plate. There were no leftovers. Sausage and bacon, with a hint of fennel on a grilled chile with just a bit of cheese. Smoked low and slow. Like a fancy jalapeno popper, sort of.
Sausage-Stuffed Hatch ChilesFor a kicked-up version substitute spicy sausage and add a few good-sized pinches of red pepper flake to the meat mixture. Oh, and use a nice pepper jack or even habanero jack cheese for that extra creamy kick.

For a healthier version, skip the cheese and bacon and use turkey sausage. You might want to up the seasonings though.

You can also make these sausage-stuffed Hatch chiles on your grill, be it charcoal or gas. Just cook them over indirect heat, trying to keep the temperatures fairly low as to not over-cook them.

Sausage-Stuffed Hatch Chiles

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 chiles
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 10 large Hatch green chiles
  • 2 pounds Sweet Italian pork sausage casings removed if using sausages
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 pound bacon cooked, chopped
  • Shredded cheese if desired

Instructions

  • Fire up a smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use any wood you desire.
  • Slice the chiles horizontally. Remove the membrane and seeds.
  • Combine the sausage, fennel, pepper and garlic in a bowl.
  • Divide the sausage between the peppers, gently pushing down to fill them completely.
  • Sprinkle the peppers with the bacon.
  • Smoke for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Sprinkle with cheese (if using) and smoke until the cheese has melted.

Bacon on the Char-Broil Big Easy

It had to be done. I was sitting there pondering what I haven’t yet cooked and then it hit me. Bacon on the Char-Broil Big Easy!. I knew I’d have to go vertical with the bacon, so I grabbed a Big Easy kabob rack, some bacon, and proceeded to make bacon ‘curtains’, hanging the bacon down into the cooker. The bacon cooked up quickly and came out super crispy. And oh, did it ever smell soooo good!
Bacon on the Char-Broil Big EasySince the bacon on the Char-Broil Big Easy is hung over the kabob rack I didn’t end up with perfectly flat bacon. I did get pieces that were perfect for BLT sandwiches. Where the bacon bends is the point at which it cooks up the fastest. So does the bacon closest to the edges of the cooker.

It’s easy to over-cook the bacon, so I recommend pulling it out of the Big Easy sooner than you think you should and letting it cool and crisp up. Also, it’s easier to remove the bacon from the rack if it is still slightly soft. Once it cools and gets crispy it will tend to break.

Although I haven’t yet tried it, I’m pretty sure you could use a Bunk Bed basket to hang the bacon if you don’t have the Big Easy kabob rack.

Did you know you can make your entire breakfast on your Big Easy, not just the bacon? Make breakfast sausage, breakfast cups and even eggs!

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Bacon on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course Side
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Bacon

Instructions

  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Drape the bacon over the Big Easy basket. or kabob holder. Do not overlap.
  • Lower the basket into the Big Easy and cook 15-20 minutes. Do not let the bacon get too brown, it will crisp while cooling.
  • Remove and let cool before removing.

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Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs with Fire-Eater Dog Sauce

How do you make a great hot dog better? Yes, you wrap it in bacon. Crispy, yummy bacon. But you’re not done yet. Then you add a good helping of a thick, sweet-heat sauce that makes mustard and ketchup boring. These bacon-wrapped hot dogs with Fire-Eater dog sauce are a great way to change up your everyday dogs. You can add more of your favorite toppings if you like, but don’t bury that great bacon flavor.
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs with Fire-Eater Dog SauceThe Fire-Eater dog sauce is also perfect on hamburgers and fries, so make an extra big batch and keep it on hand in the fridge. To make a great smoky version use a hickory BBQ sauce. For an even spicier version use a hot BBQ sauce and add a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce.

Also try my Banh Mi hot dogs.

Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs with Fire-Eater Dog Sauce

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the hot dogs

  • 6 all-beef hot dogs
  • 6 slices thin-sliced bacon
  • 6 hot dog buns

For the Fire-Eater dog sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Fire-Eater rub or your favorite spicy seasoning to taste (I used 2 tablespoons)

Instructions

For the hot dogs

  • Wrap the hot dogs in the bacon.
  • Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  • Place bacon-wrapped dogs on the grill over indirect heat.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, rotating often, until the bacon is cooked and starting to crisp.
  • Remove and let cool slightly to let the bacon finish crisping.
  • Serve on buns and drizzle with Fire-Eater dog sauce.

For the Fire-Eater dog sauce

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat and let cool until thickened.