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Chili Rubbed Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese Burger with Balsamic Roasted Pepper Relish

My inspiration for this recipe was the great loves of my life, my parents, my husband & my love of bold flavored food. One of my fondest cooking memories as a child was to watch my parents grill together. My dad loved big juicy grilled burgers and always liked to add a nice spicy yet sweet rub to them. My mothers contribution was grilled vegetables especially banana peppers which always added a nice touch of heat and a subtle smoky flavor. My husband introduced me to the unique flavor of blue cheese which I soon found paired very well with the flavors I already loved. I always loved balsamic vinegar and I found that it pulled all these flavors together and so this burger recipe was born.


Balsamic Roasted Pepper Relish
3 sweet banana pepper, seeded and split in half
3 hot banana pepper, seeded and split in half
2 poblano peppers, seeded and spilt in half
1 red bell pepper, seeded and split in half
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon course sea salt
1/3 cup Colavita "Gran Riserva" Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar

Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese Compound Butter
5 cloves roasted garlic (see note)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 ounces Stilton blue cheese at room temperature

4 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon Hot Mexican style chili powder
2 tablespoon Chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ground rosemary
1 tablespoon granulated garlic

2 1/4 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Vegetable oil, for rubbing on the grill rack
6 good quality Kaiser rolls, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high

To make balsamic roasted pepper relish, coat pepper halves with olive oil, sprinkle inside with salt and place on grill skin side down. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the skins are charred and blistered.
Remove from grill and cover in foil and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled remove and discard the skins. Coarsely chop the peppers and place them into a small bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, stir to coat well. Cover bowl with foil and reserve at room temperature until ready to use.

To make the Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese Compound Butter, crush the roasted garlic cloves with the blade of a chefs knife. Add the crushed garlic & butter into a food processor and pulse until smooth, about 45 seconds . Add blue cheese 3 ounces at a time to food processor, pulse after each addition of blue cheese until well combined.
Place into a small bowl, cover with foil and reserve in a cool place until ready to use

To make the rub, combine brown sugar, chili powder, ground pepper, rosemary and granulated garlic in a small bowl.

To make the patties, place ground chuck into a large bowl, sprinkle half the salt onto the chuck and gently mix with a chilled metal spoon to get salt evenly distributed. Shape the meat into 6 equal size round patties. Brush olive oil over entire surface of patties. Sprinkle both sides with remaining salt. Place rub onto patties making sure to coat well on all sides. Set aside until ready to grill. Keep meat very cold and handle as little as possible to prevent burger from becoming dense and dry.

When the grill is ready, using a paper towel, rub the grill rack with vegetable oil, this will
prevent sticking. Place patties on the center of the grill, cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, for medium rare to medium burgers. During the last two minutes of cooking place the rolls cut sides down on the outer edges of the grill rack so they can toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, place a patty on each bun bottom, top the patty with a generous amount of roasted garlic blue cheese compound butter, top with a generous amount of the roasted pepper relish. Add the bun tops and serve.


Easy to make this burger is a must try. Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and even the elusive unami come together to satisfy all the taste buds, The balance of flavors allow you to pair this burger with almost any of the many varieties of Sutter Home wines, but I enjoy it best with Sutter Home Zinfandel

Note: To make your own roasted garlic cut the top off of a head of garlic, coat well in olive oil and lightly salt. Tightly wrap in Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Foil and cook on grill over medium heat for 15 to 20 minute or until garlic cloves are soft to the touch. If in a hurry you can take pealed garlic cloves and place in a sauté pan. Add enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan and cook over medium heat until cloves start to brown and become soft to the touch. Make sure not to burn because burnt garlic is very bitter.