I pride myself on my cooking ability – though I’m by no means a chef, I like 90% of what I cook, and my wife/kids like 60% of what I cook, and if you knew my wife and kids, you’d count that as a win. That said, I stick close to my wheelhouse and try not to rock the boat, as I work full-time and try to parent when I can. This means I don’t have a lot of time to experiment if I want to ensure everyone eats.
Sometimes, however, I get to experiment and it turns out pretty well. The last time I grilled, I remembered seeing an idea on Pinterest or something about bacon cups, which involved wrapping bacon around the bottoms of a muffin tin and baking it upside down. Why can’t I do that, but with more animals involved?
Enter the bacon burger bowl:
A magnificent meat marvel, molded meticulously around a metal …uh, can. I used a diet Crush can for this because it’s gluten free and was within arm’s reach, but you use whatever beverage strikes your fancy. Just make sure to use an unopened one, as it will need to be sturdy. The goal was to make a meat bowl, wrap it in bacon for both deliciousness and stability, and then fill the bowl with something else delicious.
3 lbs ground beef, ideally 80/20 lean (this is best for burgers)
1 lb thick-cut bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Soda/beer in an unopened can
Form the beef into 1/2 lb balls, and then take the can and press it down in the middle of the ball, all the way down. You’re not wanting to cut the bottom out here, but you DO want to make sure you get it as close to cutting board as possible. Now form the beef up the sides of the can, about 1/3 of the way up, ensuring it remains intact. Take a strip of bacon and wrap it around the beef – this will help your burger bowl keep its shape. Once you have a structurally sound burger bowl, remove the can and repeat the process with the remaining meat.
From this point forward, you can either cook these in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes (for medium) or grill them on indirect heat for about 25 minutes (that was what I did, with charcoal on the other side of the grill). When you’re within about 5 minutes of the desired internal temperature, go ahead and add your fillings. For these in the picture, I put in about a half cup of shredded cheddar, but you could use nearly anything. Some ideas:
Grilled onions and peppers
Jalapeno popper filling
Since we’re looking at this from a keto perspective, this is one burger where you absolutely will not miss the bun. Fork, knife, napkin, sturdy plate, napkin, napkin, and you’re set!
But he wasn’t set, not yet
No, I needed a side-item to go with my burger bowls, and you shouldn’t shortchange yourself; you need side-items, too!
Enter: the grilled onion blossom!
The greasy, fried monstrosities you can get at chain restaurants are great when you’re super drunk or your standards are very low, but a grilled onion ditches the carbs in favor of delicious smokiness and with none of the regret! Plus it’s super easy and onions are cheap. Hooray!
Several whole, medium-sized white or Vidalia onions
Stock cubes (beef or chicken)
Shredded cheese (colby or cheddar, ideally – something sharp)
Begin by removing the top and bottom of the onions, and then cross-hatch them almost all the way down, but leaving them connected. We want them to fan out when they cook, not dice them. After they’ve been cut, you can put knobs of butter into the middle, slices of bacon, or simply sprinkle with some water and put a stock cube into the middle of each. Place them on indirect heat on the grill and allow them to cook for about 40 minutes at least. They will start to open but the bacon might not be done, and that’s ok. As long as they’re not falling apart, they’ll still be delicious, and on indirect heat with all the moisture the possess, it’s HIGHLY unlikely they’ll burn or even char that much. When they’ve reached desired doneness, sprinkle some cheese on top of each, and remove to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes before you try eating them or you’ll burn your mouth and fingers and cry to your wife (someone else told me this I don’t know it firsthand haha nope).
And if you’re interested in a sauce, I highly recommend white bbq sauce:
1 cup mayonaise
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp dijon mustard
Mix well, eat with just about anything. I love this stuff, and you can vary the amounts of ingredients to your liking.
Anyway, these are a delicious, easy alternative to regular burgers and whatever other thing you were going to make tonight. Go! Fire up that grill and put these burger bowls on it, fill them with things, and serve them to your family. They will likely say “mother/father, you are indeed queen/king of the grill and we cannot WAIT to do chores, feed the chickens, and shave the bears”.*
*Your mileage may vary on what your children will do around the house based on these burgers, especially if you have neither chickens nor bears.