Classic Western Burgers

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes

10 slices thick-cut bacon (about 3/4 lb. total)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
About 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds ground lean (about 7% fat) beef
1 cup soft bread crumbs (see notes)
10 slices red onion (each 1/4 in. thick and 3 to 4 in. wide)
10 slices (about 4 by 4 in.) extra-sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese (about 5 oz. total)
10 hamburger buns (each about 4 in. wide; 3 oz.), split in half

In a 10-12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon, in batches if necessary, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, break each slice in half.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, onion, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to blend. Add beef and bread crumbs and mix gently. Form into 10 equal patties, each about 4 1/2 inches wide.

Brush onion slices lightly on both sides with bacon fat in pan. Discard remaining fat.

Lay patties and onion slices on a barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning meat and onions once to brown on both sides, until a thermometer inserted in center of thickest part of meat registers 160° (no longer pink in center), 6 to 8 minutes total.

About 2 minutes before patties are done, top each with a slice of cheese. Also lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill and toast 1 to 2 minutes.

Set bun bottoms on a platter or plates. With a wide spatula, transfer patties to bun bottoms. Top each with a grilled onion slice, 2 pieces of bacon, and a spoonful of special slaw. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with bun tops.