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Avoid a culinary Ooops! How to properly apply bacon to a cheeseburger

The dreaded "X" method of topping a burger with bacon
Applying bacon using the dreaded "X" method means you won't get bacon in every bite. It is a BACON cheeseburger after all...

By Mike Thayer

The All American bacon cheeseburger, that culinary delight that is beef with a good char or sear, juicy beef that's seasoned well, topped with crisp, smoky bacon, melty cheese and served on a nicely toasted bun.  Toppings can vary, there's the classic with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and mayo and then there's the 'Texas' or 'Southern' style, where the burger is served with mustard, pickles and onions (raw or grilled).  Ketchup and various concoctions of burger sauces have a role too, but that's a story for another day.

Pet peeve:  Putting bacon on a cheeseburger using the dreaded "X" method. 

Cow tongue bacon
Bacon hanging out like a cow's tongue.  This burger actually has two!  That's flavor that should be ON the burger, not outside it.

This is a culinary Ooops!, a bacon crime.  It's a lazy way to apply bacon to a piece of burger art, but sadly, it's done that way by far too many burger joints.  Restaurants that continue the malpractice of putting bacon on a burger using the "X" method are missing the opportunity to deliver their customers a far better burger experience.  It's called a BACON Cheeseburger for a reason and it's all about proper bacon coverage.  There are better ways to apply the bacon on a burger and it's such an easy thing to do. 

The problem with the "X" method is the bacon won't cover all the beef, which means you won't get bacon in every bite.  It's not a particularly aesthetically pleasing look either with often times a half slice of bacon hanging OFF the burger like a cow's tongue.  That's flavor that isn't on the burger.  Bite into that OFF the burger bacon and if it's not a clean bite, or the bacon is a bit tough, the whole slice pulls away from the burger resulting in even less BACON Cheeseburger enjoyment.  Customers don't order a cheeseburger with a side of bacon, they order a BACON Cheeseburger which is supposed to be about layers of flavor, a better burger experience and that means bacon in every bite.

Bacon in every bite
Now that's proper bacon coverage!

I can't stress this enough, it's called a BACON Cheeseburger for a reason!  If you're going to put bacon on a burger, it needs to cover the entire burger patty, not a portion of it.  I've given this culinary lesson before: If you're only applying two strips of bacon to a burger, then you either do half slices side-by-side for proper coverage, or you shape the bacon in triangles before cooking (my preferred prep method).  Two slices of triangle shaped bacon provides excellent bacon in every bite coverage without adding a lot of time to prep work.  Simply folding the bacon into a 'V' shape when cooking works too, resulting in better bacon coverage. 

Avoid the culinary Ooops!  Don't put bacon on your burger using the "X" method and if your favorite burger joint is guilty of it, suggest the side-by side, triangle or 'V' methods.  It's really easy to do and hardly affects burger prep time at all.

In topping things off, (see what I did there with the play on toppings?... Context joke, but I digress...), you get meat, cheese and bun in every bite, why not the bacon?

$pend Wisely My Friends...

For more great grilling information to include a boat load of recipes, check out my book, Grilling Good Eats now available in paperback on Amazon!

Grilling Good Eats Book


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