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Burgers Robusto with Smokey Cabernet Reduction & Herban Horseradish

Like every American, I am constantly striving to achieve the next level of grilling Zen when it comes to our favorite food group, the burger. So keeping in mind the usual suspect ingredients my fridge and pantry stock, accompanied by the fresh herbs in my garden, I venture to take the average ordinary hamburger into a savory, perfectly cooked patty of meat accompanied by scrumptiously savvy sauces and connoisseur quality condiments. This burger is great not in only in taste, but also in the practicality of its ingredients. Good food that comes together easily on an open flame is an example why this is a better burger, perhaps even, the BEST!


1 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups beef stock
4 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tbsp Beef stock
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 large onion
2 lbs ground chuck
½ tsp freshly ground Pepper
1 tsp fresh Rosemary
1 tbsp fresh Chives
1 tsp fresh Tarragon
¾ cup Fat Free Mayonnaise
1 tsp Horseradish
3 turns freshly ground Pepper
Vegetable Oil for brushing grill
3.5 oz. (1 package) Shittake mushrooms
6 slices Smoked Sharp Cheddar Cheese
6 Onion Poppy Seed Buns
2 cups chiffonade Arugula


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Combine 1 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon with 2 cups beef stock in grill proof sauté pan and place on grill. Arrange coals as needed to concentrate the heat to sauté pan. Begin preparing burgers by combining the Grey Poupon, 3 tbsp Sutter Home Cabernet, 2 tbsp beef stock and the Worcestshire sauce in large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together. Finely mince the onion and add it to the whisked ingredients. Break off in chunks the ground chuck into the mixture and add freshly ground black pepper. Wear rubber gloves and mix just enough to incorporate the ingredients; do not overwork the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in cool place. Check heat on the saucepan, arrange coals as needed. Sauce should be beginning to bubble slightly. Continue to simmer Cabernet sauce until almost fully reduced 20-30 minutes, depending on intensity of heat. Stir occasionally. Begin preparing Herban Horseradish by finely mincing fresh rosemary, chives and tarragon then add to medium sized bowl. Add ¾ cup fat free mayonnaise and 1 tsp horseradish. Season with freshly ground pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in cool place. Tend to sauce which should show signs of reduction. Adjust coals as needed, and stir occasionally. Once sauce has reduced by almost 2/3’s, add the shitake mushrooms and let reduce slightly longer, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill & season with freshly ground pepper. Using your rubber gloves, divide the ground chuck mixture into 6 equal portions, and shape into patties. Set patties aside on a plate. Adjust coals for even grilling if needed, and brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place burger patties on grill. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium wellness. When burgers are almost done, use a slotted spoon to spoon on mushrooms from Cabernet sauce, dribble a little sauce on each burger and then top with smoked sharp cheddar. While cheddar melts, place buns on grill to toast. Remove burgers from grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest a few minutes. Remove buns from grill, and begin to fashion burgers in an assembly process. To assemble the burgers place heaping amount of Herban Horseradish on bottom of bun, followed by arugula, and burger patty. Use a basting brush to season top of bun with cabernet sauce and place on top of burger. Sit back and enjoy!


I enjoy this contest every year. I don't know what's more fun, "burger lab" as I like to call it or eating the finished product. Thanks for inspiring me to keep my grilling truly unique & continually evolving. May the best burger win!