Inspired by Tookie’s Grill in Seabrook, Texas, an artery-clogging, taste-bud-driven delight… why put cooked bacon on top of your burger when you can cook it right in?! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, to THE SQUEALER BURGER.
It’s bacon-y goodness in every single bite – and could, in fact, still your beating heart!
Now, NOT Only In Texas
Only in Texas could such a meat-laden delicacy evolve. Attracting real men and straight shootin’ gals from all across the Lone Star state. I’m a big fan of Texas. Nice folks. Good beef. Great barbecue!
But I digress. Tookie’s Squealer Burger…
“The thick, hand-formed, bacon-slick patty is fried crisp on the griddle, covered with cheese and served on a bun. The genius of this concept is that the bacon grease bastes the patty while it cooks. The result is a very salty, very greasy, crisp-edged burger that is exceptionally juicy, even when well done.” — Robb Walsh, Huston Press, 2002
Now that, is my kind of burger. I think I love Robb, he considers Onion Rings a “vegetable”.
Order a double and it’s called a Piggyback Burger… pure roadhouse grease heaven. Or so I’ve read. I’ve never been to Seabrook, Texas, and even if I were to hop a flight to Texas right now I could not get myself an authentic Squealer as Tookies closed in January of 2009, but the Squealer Burger lives on.
This is my Gypsy take on a Texas classic, in honour of Tookies, for which I break out the Resistol hat for a dash of authenticity.
Bacon Is As Bacon Does
There have been many attempts at Tookie’s Squealer Burger, but it’s all about how you handle your bacon. Some add it chopped, raw. Others cooked it crisp, then added the bacon grease back to the ground meat. I opted to cook the bacon to transparent and then to dice it fine and add it to the raw burger mix.
1. I wanted to take that raw edge off the bacon and add both flavor and fat to the meat without running the risk of the bacon not being cooked through in the middle.
2. It’s winter in Canada and the grill is still in storage, as such I am cooking my Squealers in my trusty cast iron pan, which is where I cook my bacon… so instead of adding the bacon fat into the burger, I cooked it in all that salty, smoky grease. Yup. That’s the ticket.
With A Side of “Healthy”
Now before you get your Texas-sized panties in a knot, sighting the spinach topped grease bomb you see here… I say again, this is my interpretation. Tookie’s would never serve spinach, they stuck with the traditional lettuce. But I just love the way crisp spinach wilts against seared meat, plus it packs a wallop nutritional speaking.
Yes, those are green beans on the side. Oh, sure you were thinking barbecued beans… but I was looking for some crunch, so green bean ‘fries’ it is. Served with a shot of Ranch Dressing, because on my last trip to Texas I believe Ranch Dressing was officially declared a ‘beverage’.
Wine or Beer or What?!
So, what wine would work with the Squealer Burger? None. (sharp intake of breath from the regulars…) Instead of wine, I might suggest a good, pale beer like a Keith’s Pale Ale. But not being a beer drinker myself (I cook with it, but I don’t drink it), I would go for a sparkling hard cider.
Pass the ranch dressing, Darlin’, I’m goin’ Texas tonight. Pushing the coronary limits of cuisine. A star at neighborhood barbecues where cholesterol rules.
Inspired by Tookie’s Grill in Seabrook, Texas, an artery clogging taste bud driven delight. Why put cooked bacon on top of your burger when you can cook it right in?! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, THE SQUEALER BURGER.
1pound lean ground beef 6 strips bacon, cooked to translucent & diced 1/2 medium onion, minced fine 1 clove garlic, minced fine 1 teaspoon chili flakes 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 3 tablespoons bread crumbs 1 egg, lightly whisked salt & pepper – to taste
In medium bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, thyme, chili, onion, garlic and bread crumbs, mix lightly then add egg and mix thoroughly by hand.
Do a “taste test”, cooking a small amount of meat in a pan to test seasoning, and ease up on the salt – bacon is high in sodium. Form patties, then chill for ten minutes in the fridge, Squealers are a loose burger, chilling slightly helps them to firm up for easy handling.
If you’re grilling (and why wouldn’t you in the season?!) go one step further and pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes it will help them hold together better on the grill.
Brush with your favorite sauce, for this test run, we went sauce-less… I wanted that FULL bacon flavour. What can I say? I’m a purist.
Serve on toasted sweet onion bun And top with… 1 heap of aged cheddar cheese, melted 1 handful of loose, dry, fresh spinach 1 – 2 (thick) slabs of tomato Dijon & mayo… or the burger sauce of your choice.
Fearlessly cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, food marketing consultant, recipe developer and sustainability advocate. A Cordon Bleu trained chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and now shares all things delicious - right here.