Saturday, June 4, 2011

Boubon, Blue Cheese Make Burgers Memorable

The fat, juicy burger was kismet.

Last Saturday, my husband and I did a nine-mile hike with steep climbs and stunning views of the Western NC mountains.  We stopped for a sandwich of sprouts, avocado, and provolone on a huge white quartz outcrop called Shining Rock, shimmying up its face to reach the picnic spot. The entire wilderness area was breathtaking. 

Maybe it was the vegetarian sandwich, or possibly the strenuous exercise, but I spent the last half-mile thinking about sinking my teeth into some meat.

We stopped at Fresh Market for supper fixings, to find employees grilling burgers outside for a summer promotion. Greeting a friend in the checkout line as I passed through the front of the store, a succulent burger on the cover of Food&Wine caught my attention.  I now had my mouth set on a burger.

Armed with beef and magazine, I concocted this version. Neither of us could wait long enough for coals to turn ashen, so I cooked them on a griddle and we ate by 5.  In bed by dark.  Needless to say, we missed Lady Gaga on SNL.  Too bad.

Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Bourbon Burgers
            A splash of bourbon adds a little smoky flavor to the beef.
10 to 12 ounces ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 strips applewood smoked bacon
1/4 small red onion, vertically sliced
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 (4-inch) soft buns or rolls, split
Condiments: Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, bread and butter pickle slices

Lightly mix ground beef, bourbon, and soy sauce until well distributed.  Form into 3-inch wide patties. (Don’t overwork the meat to keep the burgers tender and juicy.)

Cook bacon on a griddle over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels; pour off excess drippings, but keep a thin coating on the griddle.  Place beef patties on griddle; cook 30 seconds, then flatten them lightly to 4-inch-wide patties using a flat spatula.  Season with pepper; cook 2 minutes.  Press onions into burgers; carefully flip burgers so that onions are on the bottom.  Cook 2 minutes; sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with a domed saucepan lid and cook until cheese melts and burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 1 minute for medium-rare. 

Serve in buns with desired condiments, topped with bacon. Makes 2 servings.

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debby maugans
from the author of Small-Batch
Birmingham News   Table
Small Batch Bistro
Asheville City Market