Nothing perks up a simple burger like a few spices, along with a hit of bacon and feta cheese. When South African grilling phenomenon Jan Braai tells you this is among the best bacon and cheese burgers he’s ever eaten, you can take it to the bank!
There is nothing that says summer quite like a homemade bacon cheeseburger hot off the grill! That smokey flavour, along with the decadence of cheese, beef, and bacon all in one bite is an unctuous treat that puts a smile on the face of even the pickiest eater.
This particular burger caught my attention because of its fresh approach. The bacon and cheese are mixed right into the patties, along with the onion and spices. As a result, the patties are permeated with the delicious richness of the ingredients. This innovative technique makes for a spectacular explosion of flavour as you bite into these amazing cheeseburgers.
Plus, this strategy makes more room for the lettuce, tomatoes and gherkins on top! Obviously, the entire combination makes for bacon and cheese burgers you will not soon forget. However, coming from South African grilling expert, Jan Braai, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
About the Book
Jan Braai is South Africa’s grilling champion, expert, and a true believer in the power of a hot fire to bring people together. He is also the man behind South Africa’s National Braai Day initiative.
To write Shisanyama, Jan Braai’s fourth book about grilling, he crowdsourced recipes from across the nation. Then, he whittled the hundreds of recipes he received down to 80 South African gems. In fact, for me, Shisanyama is National Braai Day in a book.
It takes the reader on a virtual road trip through South Africa’s grilling landscape. The recipes run the gamut — from T-Bone Steaks with Mustard Ice Cream, to Red Curried Black Mussels, and Chakalaka. This book reflects the way the nation eats, and Jan Braai has included thoughtful introductory notes with each and every recipe.
Whether you’re a South African aspiring to broaden your grilling horizons or a foreigner, like myself, looking to know this beautiful country better, Shisanyama is a great place to start. The recipes are authentic, delicious, and proudly South African.
About the Recipe
I chose this particular recipe because it is simple — and unique. One of the things I love about Jan Braai’s recipes is their simplicity. They don’t rely on lots of extra equipment or fussy ingredients. So, like this highly addictive recipe for bacon cheese burgers, they could easily be prepared around a campfire.
Nonetheless, using homemade mayonnaise — which is a pretty simple undertaking — will make for a superior burger. So, I strongly recommend whizzing up a batch of blender mayo if you’re at home.
In addition, when Jan Braai says grate the onions, he means it. I’ve tried the lazy way — chopping the onions — and it doesn’t work well. The onions inevitably end up too big and chunky. This ruins the texture of the patties and reduces the impact of the onion. So, please, it’s worth the extra few minutes to grate your onions folks!
Most of all, I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine does and I genuinely encourage you to get yourself a copy of Shisanyama. It’s a treasure of a book that’s bound to up your braai game and impress your friends and family with a bit of South African flair. Bon appétit!
Spiced Bacon and Cheese Burgers from South African Grill Master, Jan Braai’s, Shisanyama
I've had some fantastic bacon and cheese burgers in my life and one of my earlier books shared the recipe of what I still consider to be a fantastic burger, made with braaied home-made pure-beef patties, braaied bacon and a cheese sauce. The inspiration for this recipe comes from Justin. He didn't assemble the sum of the whole after braaing the individual parts but actually put the bacon and cheese right into the patty, which is a great new take on an old classic. While you're at it, you might add a few other things as well.
- 1 kg lean beef mince
- 1 packet (200 g) bacon (diced)
- 200 g feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1 onion (grated)
- 1 tot paprika
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- To assemble the burgers
- 6 soft hamburger rolls
- lettuce leaves
- 3 tomatoes (sliced)
- 3 tots mayonnaise (French style)
- 6 gherkins (sliced)
- Step 1 Fry the bacon in a pan on your fire or on a stove. Let it cool down.
- Step 2 Now add all of the ingredients for the patties to a bowl and mix everything together, making sure the ingredients are spread as evenly as possible.
- Step 3 Using your recently washed hands and a flat chopping board, divide the mixture into six equally sized balls, making six burger patties by pressing and forming them into shape with your hands.
- Step 4 Braai over hot coals for about 8 minutes until done medium. In order to braai patties, you lie them down on a grid gently so the meat does not sink into the grid and get stuck. Wait four minutes, then lift and turn them over. The less you handle the meat the better, and the higher the chance that it will not crumble and fall apart. It’s beef mince. So, the idea is that the patties will still be pink (and not grey) in the middle. If you feel so inclined, you can sprinkle or grind a bit of plain salt onto the patties during the braai, but the feta and bacon will have added some salt to the meal.
- Step 5 In the last few minutes of the braai, slice the rolls, butter the insides, and toast the buttered sides on the grid over the coals.
- Step 6 When the hamburger patties are done and the rolls are toasted, assemble the burger patties in the rolls laced with lettuce, tomato slices, mayonnaise and gherkins.
A tot is the same volume as a standard shot glass, 25 ml or about 5 tsp.
As my auditor colleagues used to say, you might at some stage want to ‘push the envelope’ a bit by adding some additional grated cheese into the patty mix.
Photos and recipe by Jan Braai, 2017, from the book, Shisanyama. Shared courtesy of Bookstorm Publishers.
Shisanyama is a cookbook you will want to add to your collection. It is jam packed with brilliant, flavourful South African recipes for the grill that are suitable for cooks of all levels of experience. This treasure of a book is available in South Africa at Exclusive Books and takealot.com. In addition, it’s available internationally on Amazon.com.