Recipe: The Perfect Bacon Mushroom Burger

So recently the Cooking Channel held a contest for the best burger recipe in America as part of their new series The Perfect 3 hosted by Kelsey Nixon.  Tens of thousands submitted recipes and though my recipe did not win My Perfect Bacon Mushroom Burgerit was one of the top 3.  Below is the recipe as I submitted it to the Cooking Channel.  Included are both my picture (right) with burger cut in half and the burger that the Cooking Channel test kitchens made to make sure my recipe actually worked (below).

By putting the mushroom inside the beef patty, not in chunks mind you, but a whole portabella mushroom cap, I ensure you get a good bit of mushroom in every single bite. Instead of topping the burger with soggy strips of bacon, I use crispy lardons of pancetta then cover the whole thing with aged Swiss cheese on a properly griddled bun for the Perfect Bacon Mushroom Burger.

The Perfect Bacon Mushroom Burger
Recipe Type: Sandwich
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Serves: 4
  • 4 small portabella mushroom caps, roughly 3-inches in diameter or trimmed to 3-inches in diameter
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh ground 80-percent lean chuck
  • 1 (8-ounce) piece pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Kaiser rolls, split
  • Unsalted butter, softened (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 slices aged Swiss cheese
  1. Preheat a grill for direct heat cooking and preheat the broiler. Rub the mushroom caps with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook, turning once, until softened, about 5 minutes. Cool.
  2. Divide the beef into 4 equal amounts and working with one portion at a time, form into a very thin patty. Place the mushroom cap in the center and fold the beef up and around the mushroom pressing the beef around the edges of the cap until the mushroom is completely covered. Season the mushroom-beef patties generously with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crispy and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Generously spread the butter on both sides of each roll and place under the broiler until toasted.
  4. Place the cooked burgers on a rimmed cookie sheet and evenly top with the crispy pancetta bits and a slice of Swiss cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is just melted.
  5. Build the burger by putting the patty on the bottom of a toasted bun. Add your favorite toppings and condiments then add the top half of the bun. Enjoy.

Cooking Channel Burger Pic

Heirloom Tomatoes: Secret of a Brilliant BLT

If you are looking for a truly superior BLT it starts with a truly superior tomato.  The best tomatoes out there for this situation are heirloom tomatoes.  What are heirloom tomatoes?  According to Wikipedia:

    An heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years.

In layman’s terms, heirloom tomatoes are what tomatoes were like before scientists decided that they should be round and red.  They have so much more meat (the non-liquid part) and the flavor is amazing.  They come in virtually every shape and color you can imagine.

I like to build my Brilliant BLT on Ciabatta bread.  A half teaspoon of basil pesto mixed into a tablespoon of good mayonnaise swabbed across the bottom piece of Ciabatta is followed by a generous slice of German Stripe or Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato, a nest of Arugula and for my bacon I like to use pancetta pinwheels that I roast off in the oven until crispy.  Brilliant! - $5 off purchases of $f30 or more - Tomato HP Banner

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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