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Texas Two-Step Burgers with Shiner Bock Beer-Battered Onion Rings and Dr. Pepper Glaze

I currently live in Nevada, but I partially grew up in Texas, and I will always carry that state pride that Texans are known for with me. Everything is big in Texas, so this tall, boldly flavored burger really fits the bill. The "two steps" in this burger are the two Texas-made products, the Shiner Bock beer for the onion ring batter, and the Dr. Pepper for the glaze. The ground pecans in the patties are representing the Texas state tree, and the cayenne in the sweet and spicy bacon (you can't have a Texas burger without bacon!!) adds a nice Lone Star kick! This is a big burger that definitely says "Don't mess with Texas!"

Ingredients 

For the Shiner Bock Beer Battered Onion Rings:
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
2 medium Texas sweet onions, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
2 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (12-ounce) bottle Shiner Bock beer

For the Dr. Pepper Glaze:
2 (12-ounce) cans regular Dr. Pepper
1 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies

For the Sweet and Spicy Bacon:
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 slices thick cut bacon

For the patties:
2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup finely chopped, lightly toasted Texas pecans
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

4 cups canola or peanut oil for frying the onion rings
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack

Assembly:
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
6 sourdough Kaiser rolls, split
3 cups watercress, coarsely chopped

Instructions 

(recipe serves 6)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

In a shallow baking dish, combine the buttermilk and Tabasco sauce and stir to mix. Separate the onions into rings. Select about 15 rings (2 for each burger with a few spares) that will fit on top of the burgers, and add them to the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes. In a shallow dish, whisk 1 cup of the flour, the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining cup of flour and Shiner Bock; whisk to blend. Cover both containers and set aside.

While the onions soak, prepare the Dr. Pepper glaze. In a fireproof medium saucepan or a large skillet with 2-inch sides set on the grill rack, boil the Dr. Pepper over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, 15 minutes. Stir in the preserves, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, and adobo sauce, and simmer over medium heat until the mixture has reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer the glaze to a heatproof medium bowl, cover, and set aside.

Prepare the bacon: In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, salt, pepper, and cayenne; stir to mix. Place the bacon slices in a large fireproof skillet and cook on the grill rack until the bacon begins to become crisp, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip the slices of bacon over to cook the other side. When the bacon is almost done to your liking, brush or drizzle the maple glaze over the bacon, allowing it to caramelize slightly. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; wrap in foil.

Prepare the patties: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the patties and mix well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid overworking it. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions; form the portions into patties that will fit the rolls. Cover on a plate and set aside.

Cook the onion rings: Wipe out the fireproof skillet, place it on the grill rack over medium-high heat, and add the 4 cups canola oil. Set up your onion ring "work station," with the containers containing the onions, flour mixture, and beer mixtures in a row. Line a plate or a baking sheet with paper towels. When the oil has reached 350F degrees, remove an onion ring from the batter, shake off excess buttermilk, dredge in flour, shake off excess, and then dip in the beer mixture. Drop the onion ring in the oil and continue the process with the other rings, being sure to not crowd the rings in the skillet. When the rings are golden brown, remove them and let drain on the paper towels.

Grill the patties: Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack and grill until they are browned on the bottoms, 3 minutes. Carefully turn the patties over and brush the browned sides with the Dr. Pepper glaze. Continue to grill the patties, turning and brushing with the glaze every 3 minutes, until they reach desired degree of doneness. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each of the patties with the cheese and close the lid to soften. Place the rolls, cut-sides down, around the circumference of the grill to lightly toast (check to make sure they don't burn!).

Assemble the burgers: Spread the bottom and top halves of the buns with some of the remaining glaze. On the bottom halves, top the glaze with some watercress, 2 strips of bacon, a patty, 2 onion rings, and the bun top. Serve immediately!! Yee Haw!!

Comments 

Shiner Bock may be replaced by a similar brand if it is not available in your area. Pecans from other states can be substituted for Texas pecans.

Note: This recipe is a resubmitted version. One ingredient, the oil for frying the onion rings, was out of order in the previous entry.