Vegan Western Bacon Cheeseburger
Let's VEGANIZE my old FAST FOOD FAVORITE from Carl's Jr!
This was, without a doubt, my favorite fast food burger of all time. I have no idea how many of these my drunk and stoned ass ate but it was an embarrassing amount. There's just something so perfect about the combination of bacon, BBQ sauce and onion rings. It's really an amazing trio.
Interestingly enough, I was eating one of these the first time I thought about where my food came from. I was slightly inebriated and pondered how many animals had to die for my burger. I knew cows and pigs, and I think I was ignorant enough back then to think that cheese came from chickens. Either way, after that I was vegetarian when I got stoned! This was a long time ago, and I'm sure if we had some of the amazing vegan food we have now, I could've made the transition quicker. That and watching some slaughterhouse footage, but I digress!
Like I mention in the video below, making everything from scratch is a bit of work, so if you are impatient, using store bought BBQ sauce, vegan bacon and onion rings might be the way to go. However, if you have the time, I highly suggest making everything from scratch. Not only is it fun and useful, but it's way better too! You'll have leftover onion rings and BBQ sauce, but you won't be mad! The onion rings can be frozen and reheated later too.
For the beer, you can substitute sparkling water or even plant milk. Though the carbonation in the beer / water does give them some good texture as well. If you do use beer I don't recommend an IPA or pale beer. Unless you want your onion rings to taste like feet.
For the bacon, I'm using my Rice Paper Bacon recipe, which can be found HERE.
And like most of my recipes, this is really just an outline. I encourage you to add or subtract things to your taste! The BBQ sauce can really be modified quite a bit, as can the onion rings, so go for it!
Here's a video showing you how to make your own VEGAN WESTERN BACON CHEESEBURGER!
Makes 1 Burger + extra BBQ Sauce and Onion Rings
1 sesame seed burger bun
6 ounces of plant based meat (divided)
4 slices of VEGAN BACON
2 slices of vegan cheese
(will make extra)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
(makes a lot, feel free to half the recipe)
2 large onions
1 cup flour (more as needed)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp seasoned salt (Lawry's)
1 1/2 cups beer (or sparkling water)
2 cups panko (more as needed)
More seasoned salt (for panko)
Make the Rice Paper Bacon first, follow my recipe HERE. Or use store bought vegan bacon.
Make the BBQ sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Remember to tailor to you taste and add whatever you like!
Bring the sauce to a low boil and then simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency. I simmered mine for about 15 - 20 minutes. Set aside.
Slice your onion into 1/4 slices. Carefully, don't cut yourself!
Break them apart into rings and then add them to a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, let's prep the dredging station. Combine the flour, cornstarch, seasoned salt and beer (or sparkling water) in a bowl. You want the batter to be like a pancake batter, so add flour or liquid as need to get the right consistency.
In another bowl, combine your panko and some more seasoned salt. You may need more panko, so keep the box handy in case you need to replenish.
Bring a pot of oil up to 375° F.
Once oil is up to temperature, use a fork to dredge your onion rings first in the wet batter, let the excess drip off, then dip them into the panko, and coat thoroughly.
Add the onion rings to your pot of oil, don't crowd the pot. They should cook up in about 2 minutes or so, but fry them until golden brown.
Let them rest on a wire rack and sprinkle with salt as soon as you do. The salt will stick to the residual oil. Don't skip this step!
Grill your buns in some butter.
Divide your plant based meat into two (3 oz) patties, I recommend a scale and a burger press to make sure they are the same size and thickness.
Grill your patties over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.
Flip your patties, add a slice of vegan cheese on top of each one, then a little bit of water to the pan, cover and then steam to melt the cheese.
After another 3 - 4 minutes the cheese should be melted. Remove from heat, and then assemble the burger as follows from bottom to top: bottom bun, BBQ sauce, onion rings, two burger patties, vegan bacon, more BBQ sauce, top bun!