Pancetta-Beef Burgers with Horseradish Ketchup
© TIna Rupp

Pancetta-Beef Burgers with Horseradish Ketchup


These decadent beef burgers from Koren Grieveson of Avec in Chicago stay incredibly moist even when they're well done. The secret? Ground pancetta mixed into the ground beef bastes the burgers from the inside.

slideshow All-Time Favorite Burgers


  1. 1 pound pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  2. 1 cup fresh 1/2-inch bread cubes
  3. 1/3 cup whole milk
  4. 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  5. 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  6. 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  8. 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  10. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  11. 3 tablespoons water
  12. 2 teaspoons sugar
  13. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  14. 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  15. 1 cup ketchup
  16. 3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish or drained prepared horseradish
  17. Boston lettuce leaves
  18. 6 crusty sourdough rolls or kaiser rolls, split and lightly toasted
  1. Lay the pancetta slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 25 minutes. Finely chop the pancetta and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until minced.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the bread cubes in the milk for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, garlic, crushed red pepper, thyme, rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the pancetta and bread and mix gently with your hands. Pat into 6 burgers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, cayenne and a pinch of salt and boil to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the onion and let cool.
  4. Light a grill. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and grated horseradish and season with salt. Grill the pancetta-beef burgers over a hot fire until they are just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Put a lettuce leaf on the bottom half of each sourdough roll and top each with a burger. Spoon the pickled red onions onto the burgers and cover with the horseradish ketchup. Close the sandwiches and serve.
Make Ahead
The uncooked burgers, ketchup and pickled onion can be refrigerated separately overnight.