From: Clint Stephenson, Friendswood, TX, Grand Prize Winner of the 2004 Sutter Home Winery Build a Better Burger contest. Recommended wine pairing: Zinfandel. Yield: 6 burgers.
CARAMELIZED CHIPOTLE ONIONS:
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Tabasco® Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 Tbsp. beef broth
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
POINT REYES BLUE CHEESE SPREAD:
6 1/2 oz. light garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese
4 oz. Point Reyes blue cheese or other favorite blue cheese, crumbled
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/3 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup Zinfandel 3 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano, thyme and basil (any combination)
1 Tbsp. Tabasco® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce 1 1/2 tsp. spicy seasoned salt
* * *
as needed, vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
12 fresh California avocado slices
as needed, balsamic vinegar for brushing on the avocado
as needed, spicy seasoned salt for sprinkling on avocado slices
12 precooked bacon slices
6 4 1/2" soft Kaiser rolls, split
6 romaine lettuce leaves
6 1/4"-thick large tomato slices
Prepare medium-hot fire in charcoal grill with a cover or preheat gas grill to medium-high.
For caramelized onions: Combine ingredients in a 10" nonstick, fire-proof skillet, cover with a lid, and place on grill rack. Cook mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized and most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove pan from grill and set aside.
For cheese spread: Combine cheeses in fire-proof saucepan; cover and set aside.
For burger patties: Combine chuck, sirloin, onion, zinfandel, herbs, pepper sauce and seasoned salt in large bowl. Handling meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and form patties to fit rolls.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5-7 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile, place sauce pan with cheese spread on outer edge of rack to warm it just until it reaches a very soft, spreadable consistency. Remove sauce pan from grill and set aside.
During final minutes of grilling patties, brush avocado slices with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Arrange on a rimmed nonstick perforated grilling
pan lightly coated with oil and grill alongside patties, 1 to 2 minutes, turning as necessary. During final 30 seconds, add bacon slices to pan. When avocados are nicely grilled and bacon is crisp, remove from the grill. When patties are cooked, remove from grill and stack to keep them warm. Place rolls, cut-side down, on outer edges of grill rack to toast lightly.
To assemble burgers: Spread a generous amount of cheese mixture over cut sides of roll. On each roll bottom place a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, a patty, an equal portion of caramelized onions, 2 avocado slices, and 2 bacon slices. Add roll tops and serve.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sutter Home Winery