Cranberry Ultimate Pork Burgers with Garlic Cherry Mayonnaise, Smoked Ham, Bacon, and Gruyere Cheese

Servings: Makes 6 burgers

Wine Varietal: Merlot

Merlot wine must start at room temperature for the rehydrating of the cranberry process. If you can’t find Gruyere, use Swiss cheese in its place.

Ingredients:

Drunken Cranberries

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups Sutter Home Merlot, at room temperature

Garlic Cherry Mayonnaise

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons black cherry jam 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices bacon

Patties

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Merlot liquid (reserved from the Drunken Cranberries) 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne 
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • Drunken Cranberries (from above)
  • 2 tablespoons minced sweet cherry peppers
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Colavita extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the grill rack and buns
  • 6 thin slices smoked ham
  • 6 slices (1/4 inch thick) Gruyere cheese
  • 6 potato buns, split
  • 6 pieces green leaf lettuce

NOTE: Merlot wine must start at room temperature for the rehydrating of the cranberry process. If you can’t find Gruyere, use Swiss cheese in its place.

Instructions:

To prepare the cranberries, place the cranberries and Merlot in a large fire-proof skillet and cook on a gas grill over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the cranberries are softened and rehydrated, 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then drain and reserve 2 tablespoons of the Merlot liquid. Set the cranberries and reserved liquid aside to be used in the patty preparation.

To make the mayonnaise, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until assembling the burgers.

To cook the bacon, place a large cast iron skillet on the grill over medium-high heat to preheat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm.

To prepare the patties, whisk together the mustard, reserved Merlot liquid, black pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl. Add the pork, drunken cranberries, cherry peppers, rosemary, and salt and gently mix together, using a large spoon and handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form into 6 patties and refrigerate until grilling.

Heat the grill to medium-high. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the patties, cover, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. During the last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, place a slice of ham and  then a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Brush the buns with olive oil and place, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly to golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, slather the toasted side of the bun bottoms with some of the mayonnaise. Place one leaf of lettuce on each bun bottom and add the patties. On top of each patty, place 2 slices of bacon and a large dollop of the mayonnaise. Add the toasted bun tops and wooden skewers, and serve immediately.