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Rosemary Smoked Burgers with Smoky Orange Burger "Jam"

One of my favorite memories of growing up in the south is the delicious smoked meats that we would buy from the local smoke house. I think every southerner grows up with a love of the smoky goodness that comes from slow smoking a nice piece of meat.

When I"m craving the nostalgic flavors of my childhood, I turn to this delicious quick alternative. We had orange trees growing in our backyard so adding citrus to just about everything came easily to us. The orange zest and ginger in the burgers is slightly reminiscent of an orange beef stir-fry. The fresh rosemary sprigs on the hot coals gives the beef a hint of southern smoky rosemary flavor. Add the smoky orange burger "jam" and the crisp peppered bacon and you've got a real southern treat!

This delicious southern burger is great anytime of the year and can easily be prepared no matter what part of the country you live in. So next time your craving the flavor of the south, give this great American favorite a try. You'll be glad you did y'all!

Ingredients 

For The Smoky Orange Burger Jam:
1/3 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

For the Spinach and Red Onion Salad:
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 orange
1/2 cup sliced red onion
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almond
1 1/2 teaspoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

For the Rosemary Smoked Burgers:
2 pounds ground chuck
1 Tablespoon fresh Orange zest
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup grated onion
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

12 thick slices of black peppered bacon
8 whole rosemary sprigs
Vegetable oil for grilling
6 garlic Ciabatta Rolls, split

Instructions 

For the Smoky Orange Burger Jam: In a small bowl, stir together barbecue sauce, orange marmalade and horseradish. Set aside.

For the Spinach Citrus Salad: Add the spinach leaves to a large bowl. Zest the orange and reserve the zest for the dressing and the burgers. Peel the orange, squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice into a bowl and reserve for the dressing. Slice the orange into bite size pieces and add to the spinach. Add the onion, raisins and toasted almonds. Toss to combine. To the reserved orange juice add 2 teaspoons of the zest, honey, ginger, pepper and sesame seeds. Whisk in the sesame oil and the olive oil. Add just enough of the dressing to coat the spinach leaves. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the Rosemary Smoked Burgers: In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, orange zest, red pepper, salt, ginger, onion and parsley. Mix just until combined, form into 6 burgers. Place on a clean plate and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat. To a 12 inch cast iron skillet, add the peppered bacon slices and fry until crisp. Remove to drain on paper towels. Place the rosemary sprigs directly on the coals then brush the grill grates with oil. Place the burgers on the grill, cover. Cook 4 minutes, turn and cook another 4 minutes or until done to your liking. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, place the rolls on the outer edges of the grill to brown.

To assemble the burgers: Spread the cut sides of the rolls with some of the Smoky Orange Burger Jam. To each bottom bun add a burger, followed by some of spinach citrus salad, 2 slices of crisp bacon and a top bun. Serve warm and enjoy!