Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Infamous Turtle Burger, Bacon Goddess Style!


 Everyone's seen the turtle burgers, right?

The photos going around the internets of those delicious bacon-wrapped hamburgers made into turtles with the addition of hot dog legs, head and tail frankly intrigued me. But there was no recipe, just a picture. I figured I could make them myself. So I did.

Here's what you need to make four turtles:
  • A pound (or two) of hamburger
  • Some cheese (+/- a slice per burger)
  • BACON (about 3 slices per burger, cut in half)
  • Hot dogs (1.75 for each burger)
  • You're gonna also want some toothpicks.  Trust me.
Note: change the amounts as you see fit - these are the basics

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mold yourself some quarter to half pound burgers with whatever seasonings you like in them.  I like to put a bit of salt and pepper, some garlic powder and pinch of parsley flakes in mine.  I think I made mine with 1/3 pound burgers, so you can judge by my photos how that size looks and plan your turtles accordingly.

Now, take a sharp knife and slice the burger in half.  Put your cheese inside and reseal the burger around it so the cheese is secreted away in the middle of the burger.  The cheese WILL run out a little when it cooks, so judge your cheese amount accordingly.

Cut a hot dog in half and then slice the halves in half lengthwise so they are domed on the top and flat on the bottom.  With a sharp knife, make two slices on the end of each.  These will turn into turtle toes as the burgers cook.

The head can be a hot dog cut in half and the tail can be a quarter of a hot dog.  Make the tail pointy for authenticity.  I mean, you want your bacon turtle to look REAL, right?

Now comes the tricky part. Carefully make holes for the legs, head and tail and push them in, domed side up.  You can just coax the hamburger open a bit and then shove the hot dogs in further, but do it slowly and carefully.  At this point, you might want to use toothpicks to hold the hot dogs in place while you add them all, as the burger might get a bit unstable.  Make sure you smoosh the hamburger as tight against the hot dogs as possible to minimize cheese leakage.

Time to weave some bacon!  Do you remember basket weaving in junior high art class?  Same concept.  Cut your bacon strips in half and lay three of them next to each other vertically - touching.  Fold the middle one all the way back and place another strip across the other two horizontally.  Fold the middle one up again.  Now fold the two end strips back over the horizontal strip.  Lay another strip horizontally over the middle vertical strip.  Fold the two end strips up again. fold the middle strip back again over the two horizontal strips... do you see where we're going here?

I'm posting this photo of a bacon weave I did for something else so you can get the idea. Your turtle shell will NOT be this big!

Make sure your weave is nice and tight, with no space between the strips and carefully lay your turtle - upside down - on top of your bacon weave.  If you used toothpicks, push them through so no toothpick is showing on the top.  Now fold the loose ends over the turtle, wrapping around the legs and head and tail and pull snug, but not too tight and secure with toothpicks. You can cut small slits in your bacon to stretch it around the head/legs if you need to, but the key word is small.  Bacon stretches.

When you're finished you should have a whole bunch of toothpicks sticking up in the air.  Carefully flip the turtle over and adjust the toothpick depths so the turtle is actually balancing on the toothpicks, not on its legs. Alternately, you can just push the toothpicks in further and let the turtles sit on the bottom of your cooking vessel and fry in their own grease.

This is what mine looked like. Aren't they just the cutest?

Your oven should be hot now and it's time to pop these guys inside. You can put them in a baking dish, but I used a large foil-covered cookie sheet for easy cleanup.  

I believe I baked them for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the bacon was fairly browned and the ends of the little turtle feet started to look crispy and separate into their little toes.  Awww.  You'll want to let them sit for just a few minutes after removing them from the oven because bacon grease burns on your mouth are NOT fun.  The bacon on the bottom will NOT be crispy if you cook them on toothpick stands.  I think if you just let them bake in their own grease, it would probably cook the bottom bacon better, but for some reason I was thinking I'd cut a little fat by not cooking them IN the grease.  Yeah, dumb. I'll do it the hambeast way next time.  Promise.

Your finished turtles should look like this.
And yes, they were delicious.

One note of stupidity to be avoided:
I like crisp bacon.  I didn't think the bacon on top was crisp enough.  So I turned on the broiler.  Without draining the collected grease from the pan first! Yeah, it was a splattery, smoky mess as the grease started popping and exploding all over the inside of my oven.  Made the bacon crisp, though.  If you MUST crisp the bacon, move the turtles to a NEW foiled cookie sheet/baking dish before doing so.  You might still get a little bacon splatter, but you can avoid potential grease fires and a huge mess to clean up.

One of the coolest things about this recipe is you can change it up any way you'd like.  You could use ground turkey and turkey dogs with no cheese to cut the fat.  I would NOT suggest using turkey bacon, though.  It's pretty yummy, but it's not REALLY bacon.

Oooh - or you could try going gourmet with like ground buffalo and gouda with some sort of fancy flavored hot dog and one of the fancy schmancy gourmet bacons you can get from Bacon Freak. In fact, I might just try that this weekend.

Enjoy!  (And please comment/link if you DO make these - especially if you post pictures anywhere!)


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2 comments:

  1. I looked everywhere for a bacon cheeseburger recipe but they all seemed so similar until I stumbled upon this! I ended up omitting the hotdogs entirely, but the bacon weave held the burger in perfectly. Mixed the meat with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and barbeque sauce and baked at 400 for 35 minutes. Broiled for a few minutes on each side to crisp up the bacon at the end. These are marvelous with very little work required, if you love bacon as much as I do give them a try!

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  2. The commercial consumption of turtle eggs is having a devastating effect on the sea turtle population.The regulated protection of the turtles and turtle eggs is managed by organizations like the Cocibolca Foundation as well as the Nicaraguan Army. namesforpets.org

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