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Taste of Virginia Old Dominion Burgers

Since coming to America, for over four generations my family has called Virginia its home. Whether living on the coast on the Chesapeake Bay, or in the mountains where the orchards keep the seasons, to the Shenandoah Valley where the farms blend seamlessly into one another, someone from each generation has made Virginia the home base for all of our family. This burger is a real blending of all of those generations and family members. While the food of my family and friends from around the state may be simple and basically southern in character, it definitely has its own character and flavor. Whether it is the Old Bay seasoning that is a trademark of the Chesapeake, the peanuts and country ham of the Smithfield area, or the apples from our amazing mountain orchards, each little piece adds up to a taste of Virginia, and a unique blend of memories of my family.

Ingredients 

Patties:

One cup ground unsalted roasted peanuts
One and one half cups chopped collard greens
Two Tablespoons minced fresh sage
One Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
Two teaspoons salt
One teaspoon ground black pepper
One egg
One pound ground chicken (about 10-15% fat)
One pound ground pork (about 20% fat)

Apple Onion Slaw

One cup mayonnaise
Two Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
One Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
One large onion, sliced into thin half moons
Two medium Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks

Candied Bourbon Bacon

12 slices country ham bacon
One third cup Virginia Gentleman bourbon whiskey
One quarter cup light brown sugar

Two to three Tablespoons vegetable oil, for preparing the grill rack
Six potato roll hamburger buns, split horizontally

Instructions 

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

To prepare the patties, in a large bowl combine the ground peanuts, chopped collard greens, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg until well mixed. Add the ground chicken and ground pork and combine until ingredients are evenly distributed, taking care not to overhandle or compact the meat. Form into six equal bun sized patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to grill them.

To prepare the Apple Onion Slaw, in a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk until blended. Ass the onion and apple, and stir until the apple and onion are completely coated in dressing, and the slaw is well combined. Refrigerate and set aside until assembling burgers.

To prepare the Candies Bourbon Bacon, place a large fireproof skillet on the grill. Fry the bacon until crisp on one side, about five minutes, then turn and fry until crisp on that side, about three to four minutes (you can do this in batches as needed depending on the size of your skillet). Remove bacon from the skillet and drain fat. Add the whiskey to the pan off the grill, (to avoid flame ups), place the pan back on the grill and add the brown sugar stirring until dissolved. Add the bacon back to the pan, coating both sides of each piece with sugar mixture and sauté for three to four minutes, until liquid evaporates and the bacon is caramelized. Remove the pan from heat and remove the bacon from the pan. Set bacon aside until assembling the burgers.

To prepare the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover, and cook for about five to seven minutes, until golden brown on the first side. Flip patties and cook for about four more minutes, until the internal temperature of the patties is at 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the grill and tent with foil to rest for about four minutes. While the patties are resting, place the buns, cut side down on the grill rack to toast for about three minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside.

To assemble the burgers, place the buns cut side up on a platter, top each bottom half of the bun with the patty, them top each patty with two sliced of candies bacon, then top each burger with an equal amount of the apple onion slaw. Top each burger with the bun top half and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

You can substitue regular bacon if you can't find country ham bacon, just add a half teaspoon of salt to the brown sugar when candying the bacon. You can also use a different whiskey that you prefer, but it is best with one like Virginia Gentleman that isn't too sweet or woody.