RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Steakhouse Cheeseburgers on Spinach Salad

We Midwesterners are BIG on steakhouses. None of that froufrou nouvelle cuisine for us. These big juicy burgers provide that steakhouse experience in every bite, right down to the classic spinach salad with bacon dressing! Of course, no Wisconsin native would dream of making a burger without cheese, and cheddar is our forte. These delicious burgers would be eagerly welcomed at any Midwestern backyard BBQ.


¼ cup Sutter Home Cabernet
½ cup grated red onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 TBSP Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1½ TBSP minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1½ tsp. steak seasoning (I like Kirkland Signature Steak Seasoning from Costco)

Spinach Salad Dressing:
12 slices thick-cut bacon
2 medium shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 TBSP Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 TBSP red-wine vinegar
1 TBSP honey
1½ tsp. grainy Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

vegetable oil
5 ounces thinly sliced, artisanal medium-sharp cheddar cheese*
6 kaiser rolls, split
2 TBSP butter, softened
6 ounces baby spinach leaves
½ cup candied walnuts, chopped
*I like Castle Rock Organic Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar from Minnesota


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

In a large bowl, whisk together cabernet, onions, garlic, Worcestershire, thyme, 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Gently but thoroughly mix in ground chuck and ground sirloin and form mixture into 6 patties, to fit rolls. Sprinkle steak seasoning over patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside.

When grill is ready, cook bacon in a large, heavy, non-stick fire-proof skillet, until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then wrap in foil to keep warm. Pour fat into a heatproof bowl and wipe out skillet. Measure 2 TBSP bacon fat back into skillet and add shallots and olive oil. Cook over medium heat (off direct heat a bit), stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from grill and whisk in vinegar, honey and mustard. Whisk in ¼ tsp. sea salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Pour dressing into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 5 minutes per side for medium, topping with cheese for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Spread the cut side of the roll tops with the butter. Place tops and bottoms, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling. Remove burgers and rolls.

Add spinach and walnuts to dressing and toss to thoroughly coat leaves. To assemble burgers, divide spinach salad between roll bottoms; top each with a burger, 2 bacon slices and tops of rolls. Serves 6.


Because of the Worcestershire and red wine in the burgers, they may appear to be overcooked when, in fact, they are perfectly cooked to a juicy, delicious medium doneness.