Be careful. This recipe is gonna mess up your diet. It also might mess up your weekend a little, by leading to long mid-morning naps. But you can’t deny, this breakfast burger is a thing of beauty. Just look at that gaudy mess.
The recipe we’re laying out today is indulgent, filling, a bona fide hangover cure, and one of the best ways to start a Saturday or Sunday morning (or afternoon) brunch. It was inspired by a recent The Burger Show episode in which chef Alvin Cailan faced off with former Bon Appétit host Molly Baz. When I saw it, I knew I had to throw my breakfast burger hat into the ring.
I took a few cues from Baz and Cailan’s burgers — like macerating thinly sliced onions in hot sauce and putting a hash brown patty on my burger. The rest is all me. I have two secret weapons in play here. One, I’m cutting my ground beef with Spam. Yes, you read that right. My breakfast burger patty is two parts ground beef to one part motherf*cking Spam. I’m also topping this burger with a low-and-slow tomato-bacon-onion jam (my editor’s idea) instead of raw tomato or onion or an unwieldy slice of bacon.
This is my homage to Spam and eggs with a side of hash browns. Will it work in burger form? Let’s find out!
The Ultimate Breakfast Burger
- 2-oz. ground beef (90/10 lean/fat)
- 1-oz. SPAM
- 1 Queen Ann potato
- 1 large egg
- 1 large English muffin
- 1/8 cup mayo
- Louisiana hot sauce
- 1 white onion
- Yellow Irish cheddar slice
- 1/8 cup tomato-bacon-onion jam (see recipe below)
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt
- Black pepper
What You’ll Need:
- Cast iron skillet w/ lid
- Heavy spatula
- Rubber spatula
- Mandolin slicer
- 1 small nonstick pan
- Box grater
- Mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- Medium pot
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- White food-safe paper
For the tomato jam:
- Core and dice five Roma tomatoes.
- Finely chop two large yellow onions.
- Add a large glug of olive oil to a medium-sized pot on medium heat.
- Add in one slice of diced bacon while the pot is still cold. Brown and remove the bacon; set it aside.
- Add in the onions with a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, making sure to pull the fond from the bottom of the pot.
- Add tomatoes and stir. Add 1/2 cup of raw sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, a small spoon of paprika, and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Re-add the bacon.
- Lower heat and simmer for about an hour until a thick, jammy consistency is achieved.
- Store in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
For the breakfast burger:
- Use a scale to measure one ounce of SPAM and two ounces of ground beef.
- Use a fork to break up and slightly mash the SPAM and then mix into the ground beef. Form a ball and set it aside.
- Add the mayo and a few dashes of hot sauce to a small bowl and mix until well blended (make this as spicy as you want).
- Peel a potato and grate it directly into a bowl of water. Let sit for 15 minutes and then use a kitchen towel to squeeze out all the excess water. (See our full hash browns recipe here.)
- Use a mandolin on its thinnest setting to slice a yellow onion. Liberally season the onions with Louisiana hot sauce and set them aside.
- In a small and oiled non-stick pan, add a burger patty-sized amount of shredded potatoes. Hit with salt and pepper and let brown on one side before flipping and browning on the other side. Set aside when cooked through and fully browned on both sides.
- In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and crack in an egg. Use the corner of the spatula to swirl the yolk around and hit with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the egg is starting to set, flip and cook for another ten to 15 seconds before setting it aside on a plate.
- Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.
- Butter two sides of the English muffin and place in the skillet, butter side down, to toast. Set aside when browned.
- Turn the heat on the skillet to high. Place the meatball in the center of the skillet, hit with a big pinch of salt, and then pile high with hot sauce macerated onions. Use a large spatula to smash the ball into a thin patty.
- Once the juices start to bubble up on the patty and the onions are browned on the edges, flip the patty.
- Place a slice of cheddar over the patty and spoon a large dollop of the tomato-bacon-onion jam on top and place a lid on the skillet. Turn the heat to low.
- Ready the burger for assembly: Spicy mayo on the top and bottom bun. The hash brown goes on the bottom. On the top bun, make a small layer of fresh spinach for the egg to rest in.
- Once the cheese is nice and melty, transfer the patty to the waiting hash brown patty on your bottom bun. Place the egg and top bun on the burger and wrap in the white paper.
- Let rest for a few minutes and serve.
I want this to be my last meal. Hell, I want to be buried with a big, oily bag of these burgers in the coffin.
This might be one of the best burgers I’ve ever made and very high up there with the best I’ve ever eaten. I liked this so much I’ve done a complete 180 on dismissing the English muffins as a burger bun.
The burger patty was super savory with this mix of beef and porky goodness that felt like spam and eggs for breakfast but in burger form. The hash brown was soft on the inside with a crispy exterior that provided an excellent crunchy counterpoint. The hot sauce mayo and spicy onions let the heat build slowly towards a crescendo by the time you finished the burger.
The cheese was super melty. The edges of the onions were crisp. The bun was full of toasted buttery goodness and really held everything together well (the holes and craters of the muffin suck up some of the extra-sauciness of this burger). The egg was exactly right and still had a soft body to it (overly fried eggs turn to rubber). The spinach added a nice and bright green to the look of the burger but didn’t really add a whole lot to the taste, which was fine by me. The tomato-bacon-onion jam was a sweet, tangy, umami bomb that surprised you with nugs of bacon every now and then.
In the end, it doesn’t even have to be breakfast, I’m going to make this burger, again and again, all times of day and year-round. It’s a hedonist’s dream. A once-a-month type of thing. But definitely a meal you need in your life.
All that being said, this was a messy burger that definitely needs to be wrapped.