Yes, I ended up making the burger on the cover of the Build A Better Burger cookbook, but I honestly didn't realize that fact until afterward. Come on, you know I made it because it had bacon in it. This recipe was the grand prize winner in 2004 and was from Clint Stephenson of Texas.
This was really tasty.
This was also a heck of a lot of work for a burger.
The recipe was probably the first "gourmet" burger I've ever put together...where you not only add ingredients to the meat mixture but you spend time fussing with toppings (since usually for me it's just a slice of cheese, mayo, pickles and tomatoes). Though the end product tasted pretty good, it was a bit of work for "just a burger". (Okay, why is it that I consider a burger something that should be quick and simple? This though, was not).
There were many parts to this recipe...the caramelized onions, the cheese spread, the meat mixture and the avocado slices. The caramelized onion mixture was great. It's something I'd make in a heartbeat to put on burgers in the future. I also really enjoyed the flavor of the patties. I didn't notice a big difference in basting the avocado slices with the vinegar and sprinkling them with seasoned salt. I'm sure in the big picture this made a difference but I probably wouldn't go through the trouble to make the avocados like that next time.
As for the Point Reyes Blue Cheese Spread, I have to admit, neither Mr. L nor I are fond of blue cheese. In fact, we are very not fond of it. But we tried it in the burger. And didn't like it. Next time I would just use more of the garlic and herb spread or add some other kind of cheese. We only prepped two burgers with the cheese mixture then threw the rest out. We used more of the Rondele garlic and herb mixture. Yes, I realize Point Reyes Blue fans are reeling in horror.
I realized this was a "contest" burger, which meant pretty precise measurements, but next time I don't think I'd be that precise about anything (I'd add more bacon of course and maybe just a tad of mayo and some salt).We also didn't grill the burger, I'm sure that would have upped the flavor quite a bit. I still think the recipe ended up making a damn good burger.
GRILLED CALIFORNIA AVOCADO BLT BURGERS
WITH CARAMELIZED CHIPOTLE ONIONS
CARAMELIZED CHIPOTLE ONIONS
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 tablespoon beef broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
POINT REYES BLUE CHEESE SPREAD
6 1/2 ounces light garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese
4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese or other favorite blue cheese, crumbled
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1/3 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup Zinfandel
3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, thyme, and basil (any combination)
1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons spicy seasoned salt
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 Hass avocado slices
Balsamic vinegar, for brushing on the avocado
Spicy seasoned salt, for sprinkling on the avocado slices
12 precooked bacon slices
6 (4 1/2-inch) soft Kaiser rolls, split
6 romaine lettuce leaves
6 (1/4-inch-thick) large tomato slices
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the caramelized onions, combine the onion, pepper sauce, broth, vinegar, oil, garlic, and brown sugar in a 10-inch nonstick, fire-proof skillet, cover with a lid, and place on the grill rack. Cook the onion mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove the pan from the grill and set aside.
To make the spread, combine the cheeses in a fire-proof saucepan, cover, and set aside.
To make the patties, combine the chuck, sirloin, onion, Zinfandel, herbs, pepper sauce, and seasoned salt in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile, place the saucepan with the cheese spread on the outer edge of the rack to warm the cheese mixture just until it reaches a very soft, spreadable consistency. Remove the saucepan from the grill and set aside.
During the final minutes of grilling the patties, brush the avocado slices with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Arrange on a rimmed nonstick perforated grilling pan coated lightly with oil and grill alongside the patties for 1 to 2 minutes, turning as necessary. During the final 30 seconds, add the bacon slices to the pan. When the avocados are nicely grilled and the bacon is crisp, remove from the grill. When the patties are cooked, remove from the grill, stacking to keep warm. Place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast slightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture over the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, a patty, an equal portion of the caramelized onions, 2 avocado slices, and 2 bacon slices. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.
Note: I used Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Rondele Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread, Oscar Meyer bacon (cuz that's what we had on hand, yeah, sad...better bacon would have been, well, better).
Note: I forgot to buy lettuce so I just left it out.
Note: We didn't grill this. We did everything on top of the stove (we used a cast iron grill pan).
Note: The recipe asked for "spicy seasoned salt". I'm sure the recipe required some specific blend, but I just kind of made my own with Lawry's and cayenne pepper.
Note: The patties were cooked closer to medium rare than medium.
This was a really good tasting burger. I can see myself doing a simpler version of this next time I have folks over for burgers and want to impress them (without the blue cheese of course).