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Old Mission Point Sweet Red Ruby Burgers with Hot Banana Pepper Rings

Although I only lived in Michigan for the first six years of my life, I can remember going to Old Mission Point in Traverse Bay in the middle of summer to buy sweet cherries. For years after we moved away, we made the trek back to see grandparents and never missed the opportunity to drive up the narrow strip of land that jutted into the bay. It was lined with cherry farms, and in July during the National Cherry Festival, you could buy fresh fruit, marmalades, and other luxuries. Michigan is one of America’s top four producers of cherries, and since there are countless uses for the little red rubies of the north, I thought it would be fun to see if it worked with beef – It does!


4 pounds freshly ground chuck
One half cup mayonnaise
One quarter cup pitted sweet cherries, chopped fine
2 t salt
2 t coarsely ground black pepper
One half teaspoon red pepper flakes

Waxed paper

1 cup pitted sweet cherries, chopped fine
One quarter cup Moscato
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
One quarter cup hot banana pepper rings
1 t salt

One quarter cup oil for brushing grill

6 ciabatta rolls
One stick melted butter

12 large slices of ripe, red tomato
Butter lettuce leaves
One half cup hot banana pepper rings


In large glass or ceramic bowl, gently mix ground chuck, mayonnaise, quarter cup finely chopped cherries, two teaspoons salt, two teaspoons black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Shape into six patties and separate with waxed paper sheets. Refrigerate until ready for use.

In food processor, puree one cup cherries, Moscato, medium onion quarters, one quarter cup hot banana pepper rings, and one teaspoon salt.

Brush oil on lower grill rack. Turn grill on and set to high. Close the lid and wait five minutes until grill rack is hot. Place the chilled burger patties on the lower rack and baste tops with cherry glaze. Cook for four minutes, and then turn. Baste with cherry glaze and cook for another four minutes, and then turn and baste again. Spoon remaining cherry glaze on burgers, and then move to top rack, leaving room for rolls. Check internal temperature of patties with a meat thermometer. It should read 160 degrees.

Spilt the rolls and brush them with melted butter. Place face down on upper rack and toast. Remove the burgers and rolls from the grill.

To assemble, place two tomato slices on roll bottom followed by the burger patty. Place lettuce leaves on top of burger followed by banana pepper rings. Put the roll top in place and serve.



This is the second submission of this recipe - I realized I forgot the oil for brushing the grill.

Thank You,