RECIPES: Recipe Details

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The Autumnal Equinox Burger

This autumn inspired burger features a patty seasoned with fresh sage and moistened with rich Sutter Home Merlot. It’s smothered with caramelized maple syrup and thyme onions and sits on top of a hearty slaw studded with toasted walnuts and cranraisins. The burger is topped with smoked cheddar and encased in a toasted bun that’s been dusted with freshly grated nutmeg. It’s a burger hearty enough to serve in the fall when the weather is just starting to get a bit cooler but you don’t want the summer grilling season to end.


1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise, plus 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Salt, divided use, 1/4 teaspoon for the coleslaw mixture and 2 teaspoons for the burgers
2 1/2 cups of packaged coleslaw mix (green and red cabbage with carrots)
1/4 cup raisins
2 pounds of ground chuck
1/ 2 cup grated white onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot
2 medium-large white onions, sliced into rings (enough to yield 4 cups)
1 tablespoon of real maple syrup
butter, divided use, 1 teaspoon of butter for toasting the walnuts, 2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
6 split poppy seeded Kaiser buns
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
olive oil for brushing on the grill rack, Colavita preferred
6 ounces of smoked cheddar cheese, thinly sliced


Combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Add the cole slaw mix and craisins and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine ground chuck, salt, onion, sage and Merlot in a large bowl mixing lightly but thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 disks. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, toss the onion rings with the maple syrup, cover and refrigerate.

Pre-heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Heat a medium, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Melt the teaspoon of butter and add the chopped walnuts. Toast the walnuts until golden and fragrant; set aside. Keep grill set at medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the thyme and heat for about 1 minute. Add the maple syrup coated onion rings and cook about 15-20 minutes over medium heat until all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.

Melt the final 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Brush on the cut sides of the buns, dust with the freshly grated nutmeg and set aside.

Brush grill grates with the olive oil. Place patties on grill and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, top the burgers with the smoked cheddar cheese. Place the bun sections cut side down on the outer edges of the grill until lightly toasted.

Add the toasted walnuts to the coleslaw and toss to combine.

To assemble the burgers, divide the coleslaw mixture into 6 portions. On each bun bottom, place the coleslaw mixture, a cheese topped patty and divided portions of the maple syrup and thyme onions. Cover with the bun top, slice burger in half and serve.


Comments: To save time, use pre-grated nutmeg in place of freshly grated. Although there are several steps to making this burger, all of the cooking is done directly on the grill. You cook the burgers, toast the walnuts, and caramelize the onions all on the grill so there is no need to run back and forth from the grill to the stove. In addition, all of the prep can be done well ahead of time so cooking and assembling is a snap. The use of a packaged coleslaw mix also saves time for the busy cook. Enjoy!