This Red, White, and Blueberry Bacon Burger with Basil Aioli is a mouthful in every sense! A perfectly seasoned and grilled hamburger gets topped with rich havarti cheese, blueberry balsamic compote, red onions, arugula, and an easy basil aioli, all on a brioche bun. Perfect for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or any other day of the year!
Today's recipe has been sponsored by The Spice House, however, all opinions are my own.
Red, White, and Blueberry Bacon Burger with Basil Aioli
When it comes to burgers, I have always loved to pile on alllll the toppings. Which has the downside of me being the most embarrassing burger eater in the history of ever since I'm constantly dripping sauce down my wrists while stuffing a burger into my face. And you know what? I don't even care.
I love what I think of as "gourmet burgers" as much as I love a classic cheeseburger with tomato, lettuce, onions, and cheddar.
When we go out to eat, I'm always super tempted by the burgers at nice restaurants, especially if they are thinking outside the box. Which is what I attempted to do with this red, white, and blueberry bacon burger. Which got its name thanks to a lovely blog reader on Instagram named Bianca who suggested a patriotic "red, white, and blue" name when I posted a picture asking for help naming this burger.
I figure the patty itself counts for the red (especially since I always like my hamburger cooked so it's still just a little pink inside), the havarti cheese is white, and the blueberries, obviously, were the inspiration for the blue.
I guess I've been thinking too much about my American Eats series lately, because when I was dreaming up a totally new and unusual burger to share, Oregon and it's delicious blueberries popped into my mind and I thought, "yeah, I could see that on a burger".
I unleashed my inner foodie from there and decided to make a blueberry compote with some balsamic vinegar so it wouldn't be all sweetness, then add arugula and red onion for some bite. And I wanted something different from the standard Cheddar or Swiss for cheese (my burgers must have cheese always), so I went with Havarti, which is a great melting cheese with a buttery, almost sweet flavor to it.
Then because aioli is another obsession of mine when it comes to burgers, I decided to add a basil aioli for good measure.
Oh, and thick-cut bacon because as long as we've gone this far, we might as well make this burger over the top delicious!
It sounds like a lot. It kind of is a lot. But all the flavors and textures balance each other perfectly for what is probably the most glorious burger I have ever eaten.
If you are still wondering about the blueberry compote on a burger and how that might work, it's not all that different from dipping a Monte Cristo sandwich in jam or using fruit to make barbecue sauce or other savory dishes.
In fact, pairing fruit with protein is one of my favorite things to do, which is why some of my favorite recipes on here are for apricot pork chops, blood orange chicken thighs, and creamy apple cider chicken.
Extra blueberry compote can be used on grilled chicken or fish. I haven't tried freezing it, but I'm guessing that would probably work as well. Heck, it would probably even be good over ice cream, which isn't that weird if you think about the popular combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BURGERS
We all know how to grill burgers, but there are just a few tips and techniques that can make a huge difference in your burger game this summer. Follow these pointers and you will be the grilling sensation of your neighborhood block party!
Shape the Burger Patties
To make the best burgers, start by dividing the meat into equal portions, about 6 ounces each or roughly the size of a tennis ball. Gently shape into burgers that are slightly larger than the size of the buns you plan to use. ¾-inch-thick is a good size to make sure that you end up with a thick, juicy burger. The patties might seem large, but keep in mind that they will shrink when as they cook! Make a depression in the center of each patty with your thumb. This will help the burger cook evenly without puffing up in the middle quite as much.
Season Burgers Properly
If you don't season your burgers, they will never be as tasty as you would like them to be. Even just a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper will make a big difference.
I seasoned my burgers with an amazing spice blend from The Spice House, which is one of the sponsors for Summer Grilling Week. For more info and to enter our giveaway, be sure to keep scrolling past the recipe below. Their Back of the Yards spice blend is in their best sellers gift box containing four masterpiece spice blends that are perfect for grilling any protein or veggie. It's now my go-to spice blend for seasoning any of my burgers, it's that fantastic of a blend.
Grill Over High Heat
Get your grill going so that it can get nice and hot – medium high to high heat is best for grilling burgers.
Add the hamburger patties directly over the flames or heat source and grill, covered, for 3-4 minutes on each side for burgers that are medium-rare to medium. If you prefer your burgers to be closer to medium to medium-well done, cook them for 4-5 minutes on each side.
During the last few minutes of grilling, top the burgers with the sliced cheese so it can melt. But don't add it too early or it will all melt right off. This is also the time to toast your buns if you are feeling it.
Let the Burgers Rest After Grilling
Letting the burgers sit for 3 to 4 minutes after removing from the grill allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier burger.
Check out my Burgers 101: How to Grill Burgers post for more helpful information!
What NOT to do When Grilling Hamburgers
- For the love, please don’t use pre-formed frozen patties. I guess they are fine if you are mass cooking for a crowd, but you just cannot get a juicy, quality burger with those things.
- Flipping your burgers more than once is detrimental to a succulent, juicy burger. It can turn a perfectly good hamburger patty into a hockey puck.
- Never, EVER, press down on your burgers with a spatula while they are cooking. It might be tempting, especially when the burgers start to shrink (which they inevitably do, more on that in a sec), but smooshing the burger down with the backside of your spatula just presses out all the delicious juices and flavor that make a truly incredible burger. Don’t do it!
How to Make Red, White, and Blueberry Bacon Burgers with Basil Aioli
Really, the only parts of this burger that are recipes at all are the blueberry compote and the basil aioli. I always use the oven method for cooking bacon for burgers so I can focus on other things. For the blueberry compote, literally just combine everything in a pan and let it simmer until the berries have burst and released their juices, then thicken slightly with a cornstarch slurry. I leave the berries whole, but you could mash them more if you would like to.
The basil aioli is even easier because you are just blending basil, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in a blender or food processor , then stirring that into mayonnaise. You could also make the basil aioli from scratch, if you are interested. But this is one of those circumstances where the cheater version suits me just fine.
Then it's just a matter of assembling everything on a brioche bun, which you can get from a bakery at the store, or make from scratch if you feel like baking.
Yes, you are going to make a mess eating this burger. But it's 100% worth it, no regrets. Make these red, white, and blueberry bacon burgers for your Memorial Day cookout, 4th of July BBQ, or any other summer event and let your patriotic spirit shine!
More Mouthwatering Burger & Sandwich Recipes For Grilling Season
- Grilled Poblano Pepper Southwest Burger
- All-American Burger with Crispy Onion Strings & Burger Sauce
- Soy Glazed Mushroom Swiss Burgers
- Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwiches
- or see all of my best Grilling Recipes for more summer grilling inspiration!
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Red, White, and Blueberry Bacon Burger with Basil Aioli
- 2 pounds ground beef
- The Spice House Back of the Yards Spice Blend
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup canola or olive oil
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 challah or brioche burger buns
- Basil aioli
- 6 slices havarti cheese
- 12 slices thick-cut cooked bacon
- 1 ½ cups baby arugula
- Sliced red onion
- Make six hamburger patties by shaping with your hands into ½-inch-thick patties about 4 ½ inches in diameter Season well on both sides with seasoning blend.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Transfer hamburger patties to the hot grill grates and grill for 3-4 minutes on both sides for burgers that are medium-rare to medium. If you prefer your burgers to be closer to medium to medium-well done, cook them for 4-5 minutes on each side. Add cheese during the last minute or two of grilling so it can melt.
- Remove cooked burgers from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to a broil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes, until berries have burst.
- In a small separate bowl, combine the water and cornstarch to make a slurry, then stir in to the blueberry compote. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens slightly, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a food processor or blender, process the basil, lemon juice, garlic, and oil until smooth, then add the mayonnaise and blend or stir to combine.
- To assemble the burgers, arrange each burger on the bottom bun, then top with two slices cooked bacon, red onion, blueberry compote, and arugula. Spread the cut side of the top bun with basil aioli, then place on top of the burger. Serve immediately.