The 2008 Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger competition called for entries that represented the contestant’s hometown, state, or region of the country. First runner-up George Graham from Lafayette, Louisiana, described his homage to South Louisiana as “A dash of mystery. A pinch of history. If you want to learn the language of Cajun food, you have to immerse yourself in the Louisiana culture. It is our rich heritage of extraordinary cooking, foot-stomping music, and fun-filled Mardi Gras that inspired this unique burger. It’s spicy, saucy, crunchy, colorful, exotic, hypnotic, and dripping with the rhythm of a bayou beat.”
Root beer extract is readily available in some parts of the country, as well as from online grocers. If you can’t locate it, pour a cup of root beer into a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to a thick syrup.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon Tabasco pepper sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1½ cups root beer soda
1 cup bottled chili sauce
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon root beer extract
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups thinly shredded green cabbage
¼ cup thinly shredded purple cabbage
¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
¼ cup very thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons sugar cane vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1½ teaspoons whole-grain mustard
½ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup (about 2 ounces) finely crumbled mild blue cheese
2 pounds ground chuck
1 tablespoon Tabasco pepper sauce
¼ cup finely chopped green onions, including green tops
2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
6 high-quality hamburger buns, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.
To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a heavy fireproof saucepan. Cook on the grill, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced to about 1 cup and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Remove ⅓ cup of the glaze and reserve until assembling the burgers. Set aside the rest of the glaze until cooking the patties (the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools).
To make the slaw, combine the green and purple cabbages, onion, fennel, and bell pepper in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend well. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the slaw mixture and toss. Add the cheese and toss again, evenly distributing the cheese. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.
To make the patties, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once and brushing with the glaze, until done to preference, about 5 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the melted butter on the cut sides of the buns and place them, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the sauce over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty, and brush again with the reserved glaze. Drain off excess liquid from the slaw and place a portion on each patty. Add the bun tops and serve
Result: Bluesiana Burger
Have a good meal, and see you soon with new delicious ingredients.
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