Blue Ribbon Burgers with Maple Apple Chutney and Crispy Sugar and Spiced Bacon
Crispy Sugar and Spiced Bacon:
2 1/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
9 slices bacon, cut in half
Maple Apple Chutney:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup small diced sweet onion
1 1/2 cups small diced, peeled and seeded granny smith apple
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade A Dark Amber)
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
vegetable oil to brush on grill rack
6 bakery style golden honey or kaiser rolls, split
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup small blue cheese crumbles
Heat a gas grill to medium high heat.
To make the Crispy Sugar and Spiced Bacon, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne in a small bowl. Place bacon in a large skillet and place skillet on grill rack or side burner of grill, if available. Cook on one side, turn and sprinkle each piece with a scant 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and spices. When bacon is almost completely crispy, turn once more and sprinkle again with sugar and spices. Cook for about 30 seconds to melt sugar, taking care not to burn sugar on bottom side. Remove to a aluminum foil lined tray to cool. Cook in batches as necessary.
To make the Maple Apple Chutney, place butter in a medium sized skillet and place on grill rack or side burner of grill, if available. Add onion and saute until starting to caramelize. Add apples, maple syrup, worcestershire and cinnamon, and stir together, cooking until apples are softened. Keep warm.
To make the patties, combine beef, thyme, salt, pepper and worcestershire in a medium mixing bowl. Form mixture into 6 patties, taking care not to compact meat.
Brush grill rack with oil. Place patties on rack and cook 10-12 minutes, or until done to preference, turning once during cooking. Spread cut sides of rolls with butter and place on grill rack to toast and warm during last few minutes of cooking patties.
To serve, place a portion of spinach on each warm and toasted roll bottom. Top each with a portion of blue cheese evenly spread over surface of spinach, a patty, 3 bacon halves, a portion of chutney and roll tops. Serve and enjoy!