Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Bourbon Burgers

20 to 24 ounces ground beef chuck
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 strips applewood smoked bacon
1/2 small red onion, vertically sliced
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 (4-inch) soft buns or rolls, split
Condiments: Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, bread and butter pickle slices

Lightly mix ground beef, bourbon, and soy sauce until well distributed.  Form into 3-inch wide patties. (Don’t overwork the meat to keep the burgers tender and juicy.)

Cook bacon on a griddle over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels; pour off excess drippings, but keep a thin coating on the griddle.  Place beef patties on the griddle; cook 30 seconds, then gently flatten them to 4-inch-wide patties using a flat spatula.  Season with pepper; cook 2 minutes.  Press onions into burgers; carefully flip burgers so that onions are on the bottom.  Cook 2 minutes; sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with a domed saucepan lid and cook until cheese melts and burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 1 minute for medium-rare. 

Serve in buns, topped with bacon and desired condiments. Makes 4 servings.

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