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Divas: Make Labor Day your best burger bash, ever

What would a Labor Day cookout be without some burgers on the grill? However, if you’re ready to upgrade your plain old patties, have I got a burger for you!

This burger rivals any gourmet burger you’ll find. Imagine smoky, juicy barbecued hamburger patties, the creamy tang of sharp cheddar cheese, sweet and succulent caramelized onions, easy homemade barbecue sauce dripping down your chin, crowned with crisp, brown sugar and pepper candied bacon. Let that sink in.

If you’re not drooling, take your pulse. Unless you’re a vegetarian.

When you take that first bite; your eyes roll back in your head and you experience a moment of silent nirvana. When you’re able to speak you’ll say “Oh, My, Gaaaawd” with your mouth full. Next, there will be a blissful hush as everyone devours their burgers. Ready?

These quantities make four (half pound), six (third pound) or eight (quarter pound) burgers, depending on how monstrous you like your burgers. Prepare the candied bacon, onions and sauce first so they can rest while you make the burgers.

Candied Bacon

1 lb. bacon

½ cup dark brown sugar

Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and place a baking rack on top. Line bacon on rack. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Grind pepper, to taste, over bacon. I used about ¼ teaspoon total. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Caramelized Onions

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ tsp. kosher salt

In medium skillet, over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onions, salt and sugar and toss to mix. Cook for 20-25 minutes until onions are golden brown and soft.

Easy Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. your favorite hot sauce (I used Chipotle)

1 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool.

The Burger

2 pounds hamburger (I use 80/20 in burgers)

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon bottled horseradish

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

8 slices sharp cheddar cheese

8 buns

Preheat your barbecue or broiler. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Divide mixture into four to eight equal portions and form into patties. We have some variables in size here, so grill burgers until they reach your desired level of doneness. Due diligence – hamburger should cook to 160°F. In the last few minutes of cooking take ¼ cup barbecue sauce and brush it on the burgers. Top with a slice of cheese and allow to melt. Toast buns if desired.

To assemble your burgers; spread barbecue sauce on buns, place burger on bottom bun, add some caramelized onions and top with candied bacon.

Diva Tips – I reused a shaker spice bottle to sprinkle brown sugar on the bacon. Have two salads tomorrow as penance but today make a double batch of that candied bacon. You’ll thank me later.

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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