Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bourbon, Bacon & Burgers...Brilliant!

Good evening everyone! First and foremost, my apologies for not posting my regularly scheduled recipe last week – we ran into a little ingredient difficulty (Read: shortage) and that forced me to postpone my dish into this week.

If you watch the Food Network with any sort of regularity, you’ve likely encountered the show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”. If you’re unfamiliar with the show and its boisterous host, Guy Fieri, the premise is simple. Guy travels across the country stopping at various diners, drive-ins and dive bars, looking for the best menus, great food items and unique culinary ideas. We enjoy the show simply because you get to see such a large cross section of American cuisine. There are those that find Guy’s passionate and catch phrase heavy presentation to be too much of a shtick, but if you’re going to let things like that bother you – your issues are probably more with yourself than with any host of any show.

Last month’s Food Network Magazine featured a burger from the show. The burger was discovered during Guy’s visit to St. Paul Minnesota at a place called Casper’s & Runyon’s Nook. This recipe blends some of my favorite things – burgers, bacon and bourbon -  and is appropriately called “The Triple B Burger” You can’t have a trifecta like that and NOT expect me to try it! Let’s get cooking!

The Recipe: The Triple B Burger
Original Recipe From: Casper’s & Runyon’s Nook (St. Paul, Minnesota)

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 6)

For the bourbon sauce:
¼ Cup Cornstarch
¼ Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
¾ Cup Bourbon
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup Sesame Oil
2 ½ Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Minced Onion
1 ½ Teaspoons Tabasco Sauce
½ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
½ Cup Granulated Sugar

For the burgers:
2 Pounds 85/15 Ground Beef*
12 Slices Thick Cut Smoked Bacon, Cooked Until Crispy
6 Slices Mild Cheddar Cheese
6 Fresh Bakery Buns, Buttered and Toasted

* Many burger recipes call for 80/20 beef, simply because they want all of that fat to stay within the burger for a juicy finish. More fat means a greater chance that the beef will retain that moisture. I’ve found that 80/20 beef tends to cause more grill flare ups (essentially – grease fires) than it’s worth. By dropping the ratio to 85/15, I’ve reduced the flare ups and still manage to preserve a great deal of the burgers natural juices. For burgers 90/10 is typically too lean, but 85/15 seems to be the sweet spot (when using a grill at least).

In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Set this mixture of dry ingredients aside. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or skillet (12 inches) combine the bourbon, 1 cup water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, onion, Tabasco, brown sugar and granulated sugar over medium low heat. Bring this mixture to a light simmer before slowly incorporating the dry ingredients with a whisk. When the mixture is well combined (no clumps or dry ingredients should remain) all the mixture to simmer for one more minute before removing it from the heat. Set this mixture aside.

Preheat your grill to medium heat and bring it up to temperature. Lightly season your burger patties with salt and pepper, then place them on the grill to cook for 4 to 5 minuets per side (medium doneness is achieved at this time, add time to increase doneness). 1 minute before the burgers are done, add a cheese slice on top of each burger and close the lid of the grill to allow the cheese to melt completely. Remove the burgers from the grill, add them to your toasted buns topped with the crispy bacon and a generous helping of the bourbon sauce. Serve and enjoy!

The Results:

Burgers with bacon and cheese are as guaranteed as death and taxes. It’s pretty tough to screw that premise up – so the real question is – how was the bourbon sauce? In short, delectable. The sauce was a beautiful blend of sweet yet smoky flavors with the undertones of the bourbon shining through with each bite. The harsh ‘bite’ that most people find unappealing in bourbons was gone, replaced by a sweet (but not too sweet) base from the sugars and maple syrup. Drizzled all over this burger, this sauce was simply perfection.

That’s all we have for you this week, we’re back next week with a few brand new recipes, including a dessert recipe that you’re sure to love. Until then,


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