Wine Varietal: Zinfandel
After harvesting a few hundred pounds of the most delicious, organically grown Red Candy onions and heirloom tomatoes from my garden, I found myself wondering what to do with my harvest and craving burgers when I got together with my friends.Always loving a challenge, my friends bet me that I couldn’t make a burger better than any they’d ever had in their lives. I accepted, and got to thinking about what makes a burger legendary. I came across a picture of candied bacon in a magazine, and found it lingering on my mind. I had already been playing around with stuffed burgers, and knew I wanted to go that route. My goal was to create something they had never seen, or even thought about, and have it be a a culinary WOWser! I served them up already assembled, not revealing the ingredients. They couldn’t believe how amazingly scrumptious these burgers were; they were incredulous over the peanut butter and the candied bacon, and that they were stuffed! In short, they were subdued into burger-induced silence while they inhaled them. I’m happy to say I won the bet.
1 LB thick Bacon, i.e. Applewood Smoked, room temperature
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon ground Chipotle pepper
1/4 Teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
2/3 Cup Mayo
2 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Teaspoon Siracha chile sauce or Cayenne based hot sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
2 LB Angus Beef â€“ 80% Lean
1/2 LB Andouille or Chorizo Sausage
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Kosher/Sea Salt
7 Ounces Smoked Gouda Cheese, small dice
2 Tablespoons Fresh Jalapeno (or other hot pepper) minced
6 Brioche or Hamburger Buns, split
3/4 Cup Smooth, Creamy All Natural Peanut Butter
1 Large “Red Candy”/ Vidalia / Sweet Onion, sliced
12 Sweet Gherkin Pickles, cut in half lengthwise
2 Large Ripe Tomatoes (i.e. Heirloom beefsteaks), sliced
To Make the Candied Bacon:
Oil grill grates and preheat grill to medium heat.
In a small bowl, mix dark brown sugar and cayenne together. Lay slices of room temperature raw bacon on a baking sheet, and massage sugar mix onto both sides of bacon slices. Allow bacon to sit for 5 minutes to “marinate”.
Encase a jelly roll pan/cooking sheet in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a lightly oiled cooling rack on top of the pan. Put sugared bacon slices in a single layer on top of the rack. Close the grill cover, and cook for 20 minutes, flipping bacon every 5 minutes. Depending on thickness of bacon, bacon might need a few extra minutes of cook time. Remove pan with rack from grill. Remove glazed bacon from rack and lay on paper towels.
To Make the Burger Dressing: Thoroughly mix ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
To Make The Stuffed Burgers:
In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients and mix by hand so that meat mixture is well-incorporated. Add Gouda & Jalapenos and evenly distribute throughout meat mixture. Gently form into 6 patties.
Prepare grill for medium high heat. Make sure to oil grill grates before starting to keep burgers from sticking. Cook burgers about 4-6 minutes per side, turning once. Remove burgers from grill and place on platter.
While burgers are cooking, tear Candied Bacon into bite-sized pieces. Distribute evenly into 6 mounds—one per burger.
Take buns and put cut-side down on the grill grates. Grill for 1 minute or until lightly toasted and remove from grill.
To Assemble the Burgers:
To assemble a burger, take brioche bun bottom and thoroughly coat with Burger Dressing. Layer with a stuffed burger. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter across burger surface. Cover peanut butter layer with one mound of Candied Bacon pieces. Next, add 1-2 sweet onion slices, follow with 4 gherkin halves, and finish with a tomato slice. Coat brioche bun top thoroughly with Burger Dressing and press on top of the tomato slice. Repeat process for the remaining 5 burgers. Serve STUFFED CAJUN CANDY BURGERS immediately.