A Better Cheddar Burger

Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.

“A Better Cheddar Burger”

I named this recipe “A Better Cheddar Burger” for a couple of reasons; obviously, I created the recipe to compete in the Sutter Home “Build a Better Burger” contest and I love to cook with my son, his nickname is “Ched.” Ched is a pretty good kid and the only improvement I would ever ask for of my son, is that he get a college degree (he’s only 15 now). So, for my wife and I, a “Better Ched” could only be our son, “Ched” with a college degree. Which is exactly what we would do with the winnings if we won the Sutter Home “Build a Better Burger” contest; we’d pay for Ched’s college tuition. So, that’s how and why I named my recipe; “A Better Cheddar Burger.”


1 3/4 pounds Freshly Ground Sirloin
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tablespoons Hot Chocolate Powdered Mix (Instant)
2 Tablespoons Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Hickory Smoked Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Large Garlic Cloves Very Finely Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder

3 Tablespoons Horseradish
3 Tablespoons Real Mayonnaise
Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) of Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and fresh cracked pepper
6 Romaine Lettuce Leaves (torn in thirds)
12 Strips store-bought pre-cooked Hickory Smoked Bacon (thin)
6 Full Slices (several rings each) Grilled Red Onion (thin slice)
6 Slices Grilled Fresh Pineapple (thin circular slice, with the center core cut out)
6 Slices Vermont Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (or 12 slices if cutting cheese from small cube). White cheddar cheese slices should be large enough to almost completely cover the burger.
6 Quarter Slices Pepper Jack Cheese (about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long).
6 Buttered (use spray butter) Potato Bread Buns


Gently mix burger ingredients. Form 6, 1/4 lb. burgers with a deep indent in the center a little larger than the size of a quarter. Keep patties separated and do not stack them on top of each other. Cover with wax paper or foil and let stand at room temperature.

Meanwhile, mix horseradish and mayonnaise, and just a pinch of the Hickory Smoked Salt and a couple turns of fresh cracked pepper. Refrigerate.

Cook bacon in a screen pan on the grill over medium heat until crisp (about 10 minutes, turning once) and then place on paper towel to absorb any excess grease.

Grill pineapple and red onion in a screen pan until both have good grill marks but are still firm.

Grill hamburger patties over medium high heat about 300 degrees for about 10 minutes on the first side. After turning once, break bacon strips in half. Place 4 pieces of bacon on each burger and cover with slice(s) of white cheddar cheese. Place 1 slice of pepper jack cheese on center of burger on top of white cheddar cheese slice(s). Grill until burgers are done another 5 minutes. Do not press on burgers while cooking.

Make sure cheese is melted over bacon.

While burger is cooking, lightly spray butter on inside top and bottom buns and toast buns. When buns are toasted remove from heat.

Build the burger:
Apply one tablespoon Horseradish Mayo Mix to bottom of each bun. Cover with grilled onion. Place burger on the grilled onion. Top burger with 3 of the torn pieces of lettuce and pineapple and bun top.

Makes six servings.