When I get to a new city, I always ask people what breweries they like. People answer this question in one of two ways: how much they like the beer, or how much they like the people. Sometimes, the judgement is clouded by a love for one spilling over into the other, the way you adore your friends mediocre band. Often, there is an overlap. Great beer and great people. The amazing thing about craft beer is that it’s full of people you love, people you want to root for.
Lucky for me, in this new town I’m in, Seattle has plenty of both. A few days after moving here I had drinks with a friend. I asked about Pike Brewing, “Adored. People here adore Pike, the people who work there are so great and the beer is super solid.” No matter how many people I ask, craft beer new comers to genuine beer snobs, the answer seems to be the same. Seattle is rooting for this brewery.
Now that summer is here, and we get a window of heat in the Pacific Northwest, a burger and a beer are the perfect meal. Made with a beer that Seattle loves, it makes me feel like this new town is starting to become my home.
Jalapeno Beer Cheese Burger with Beer Candied Bacon
For the bacon:
- 12 strips thick sliced bacon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup stout
- pinch cayenne
For the cheese sauce:
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 1 cup IPA
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups (4 wt oz) shredded cheddar cheese
For the burgers:
- 2 lbs ground chuck (80/20 lean to fat ratio), very cold
- 2 tbs stout
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbs melted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 jalapenos, sliced
- 6 hamburger buns, or Kaiser rolls
Make the bacon:
- Preheat ove the 350.
- In a sauce pan over medium high heat, bring the brown sugar, stout and cayenne to boil, boil for one minute.
- Place the bacon on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Brush the bacon on each side with sugar mixture.
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flip, re-brush with sugar mixture, bake for ten more minutes until bacon is a dark brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool. Bacon will harden as it cools.
- Bacon can be made a day ahead of time.
Make the cheese:
- In a pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle with flour and cornstarch, whisk until well combined, allow to cook until a light brown color.
- Add the beer and the milk, bring to a low simmer. About ¼ cup at a time, whisk in the cheese, making sure all cheese is melted before adding more. Keep warm while you make the burgers (sauce will thicken as it cools, add additional milk or beer and add to heat if the sauce thickens too much).
Make the Burgers:
- Preheat the grill.
- In a medium bowl, gently mix together the beef, 2 tablespoons stout and onion powder. Make sure that you only mix as little as necessary, over working the meat will make it tough. Form into 6 patties (make sure to form patties larger than you want the final results to be, patties shrink as they cook).
- Brush patties on both sides with butter, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Grill on both sides until medium, about 4 minutes per side.
- Fill the buns with patties, jalapenos, bacon and cheese sauce.
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