Black eyed peas burgers with brown rice and bacon are like the traditional Southern hoppin’ John dish in burger form!
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crisp on both sides, turning as needed, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove bacon to a paper towel, crumble and set aside.
Drain (and save) all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pan.
Add chopped onion, green pepper and celery to pan and sauté in the bacon grease for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, use a fork to roughly mash the black-eyed peas. Add the cooked rice, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Once the veggie mixture is cooked and slightly cooled, add it to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the egg and stir to combine.
Shape the mixture into 4 equal burger patties. (See notes.)
Heat the pan (I use the same one) over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons of reserved bacon grease (or use extra-virgin olive oil).
Cook burgers over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then carefully flip over, top with shredded cheddar cheese and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until done.
Serve on buns topped with green onions and reserved crumbled bacon and any other favorite burger toppings.
I prefer thick-cut bacon, but any kind will do. You only need the grease from about 4 pieces of bacon to cook the veggies, but if you want two full pieces to top each burger, make 8 pieces of bacon.
I always have plenty of bacon grease (you need about 2 tablespoons but a little more is OK). If you don’t have enough, add some olive oil until you have the right amount.
It helps to pack the burgers together in your hands to form a ball, then flatten out slightly into a burger shape. If yours aren’t staying together, you can put the patties on a plate in the fridge for 30 minutes to help them firm up. (You can also do this if you want to make these ahead.)
Be sure to flip the burgers carefully, too. I use a spatula in one hand and use my other free hand to help guide them. You can also use your spatula to nudge the burger back into shape after they’ve flipped if yours falls apart a little.