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Dixie Dynamite Country Ham Cheddar Burger with Fried Onions and Spicy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

When I was a boy growing up in Dekalb County Georgia, my grandmother would make country ham biscuits, top them with sharp cheddar cheese and serve them with fresh baby green onions from the garden---oh, and we always had fresh sliced tomatoes on the side. This burgers takes the flavors of the salty ham, freshly ground beef and tangy cheddar and marries them to a
cool but spicy Ranch dressing, the crunch of fried onions and the tartness of siced green tomatoes. These flavors remind me of sitting on the back porch on a hot summer day listening to the buzz of the cicadas and relishing an explosion of southern flavor prepared by loving hands.


1 center slice country ham (about 6 oz.)
2 lbs fresh ground beef chuck
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 packages Sazon Tropical seasoning mix
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (not low-fat)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 heaping tblsp minced fresh parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp minced dried onion
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread and butter pickles chopped fine
1 tblsp Frank's hot sauce

2 oz. vegetable oi

6 fresh Kaiser rolls, sliced
3 tblsp salted butter, softened
6 oz. of Cabot Extremely Sharp Cheddar planed into 6 slices
12 oz. French's fried onions
2 large green tomatoes sliced (6 slices in all)
6 leaves red lettuce washed and spun dry


First wash your hands with soap and warm water. Preheat grill to medium high and place a black cast iron skillet on grill. Fry country ham until beginning to brown slightly on one side, about 3 minutes, flip and fry for another 3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Place in food processor and pulse 10-12 times until finely chopped. Put chopped country ham in a large mixing bowl and add ground beef chuck, Worcestershire, Sazon Tropical, sea salt, black pepper and chopped green onion. Combine ingredients thoroughly with your hands (try not over-mix) and form 6 patties. Cover and place in refrigerator.

Combine mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, parsley, minced garlic, dried onion, sea salt black pepper, pickles and hot sauce in a bowl. Place in refrigerator and pull out burger patties. With grill still set to medium high, brush grill with vegetable oil and place patties on grill and cook for about 4 minutes. Flip once and cook for 3-4 more minutes for medium (internal temp of 155 degrees--160 degrees).

While burgers are cooking, spread buns with softened butter. Place buns face down on grill for the last 1 minute until toasted golden brown. Turn grill off, and place cheese slices on burgers and close lid for 1 minute. Meanwhile, spread buns top and bottom with spicy buttermilk ranch dressing. Place burger on bun, top with 2 oz. of fried onions, add a green tomato slice and a red lettuce leaf, add your top bun and get ready for an explosion of Dixie Dynamite in your mouth!


This burger would be great with a chilled Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc--there is nothing wrong with serving a refreshing white wine with beef!