Wine Varietal: Zinfandel
I was inspired by childhood memories of summer on the farm when everything was plentiful.We raised our own cattle and hogs which provided beef and pork. The garden was full of tomatoes, onion, cucumber, lettuce and many other vegetables. I built this burger to combine the flavors of my childhood.
1 1/4 cup Colavita Aged Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 slices large red onion, 1/4 – inch thick, separate into rings
2 to 3 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced, need 36 slices
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1/2 pound deli sliced hickory smoked bacon-keep really cold for dicing
2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper-divided use
2 pounds ground chuck
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons grated garlic
1/3 cup steak sauce(I used A-1)
Fried Red Tomatoes:
1/2 to 1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoon water
2 large solid red tomatoes-6 slices 1/2 – inch thick
Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
1/3 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 good quality potato hamburger buns
3 cups coarsely chopped leaf lettuce
Preheat gas grill to medium high heat.
In a small grill safe pan bring vinegar, sugar, and water to a boil, remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes. Place onion rings and cucumbers in a heat resistant glass or ceramic bowl, pour vinegar mixture over vegetables, cover until ready to use, stir occasionally.
In a two cup bowl, stir mayonnaise and blue cheese together until cheese is distributed through mayonnaise, cover and chill until ready to use.
To make patties:
Dice bacon. On a cutting board, cut bacon strips in half. Make stacks of bacon with 4 or 5 pieces in each stack. Slice each stack crosswise, less than 1/4 –inch strips. Chop strips into very small pieces. Spread diced bacon over cutting board and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.
Combine chuck, salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic, and steak sauce in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compating it, mix well. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and form portions into patties to fit bun, make an indentation in center of each patty. Cover with foil.
Combine flour, cornmeal, and seasoned salt in a shallow bowl. Beat egg with water in a shallow bowl. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the grill rack. Dip each tomato slice in egg mixture then coat each side with cornmeal mixture, lay on a baking sheet until ready to fry. To test oil temperature drop a pinch of breading in oil, if bubbles it is ready. Fry tomatoes 3 at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes on each or until golden brown, remove with slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and place on cooling rack. Add more oil if necessary after first batch is fried.
Brush grill rack with vegetable oil.
Brush cut sides of buns with olive oil.
Sprinkle patties on each side with peppered bacon. Press bacon into surface of patties. Place patties on grill, cook to preferred doneness, turning once, cook 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. Place buns cut side down on grill to toast likely 2 minutes before burger in done.
To build burger:
Spread cut sides of bun tops with mayonnaise. Top each bun bottoms with a tomato slice and add burger. Remove cucumbers from vinegar with tongs, place 6 on each burger. Using tongs add onion rings. Top onion rings with lettuce, add bun tops and serve.