Burgers Gone Bananas — a spicy kick with fried banana pepper rings
5 slices of good quality thick-cut bacon
2 pounds Certified Angus Beef® ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cups cream cheese, soften
Pinch of salt
Banana Pepper Rings
1 ½ cups mild banana pepper rings, return to brine after measuring
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons paprika
11/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil for frying, about one quart depending on size of saucepan
6 slices mild cheddar cheese
6 good quality white hamburger buns
Oil for brushing grill
Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
To make the patties, begin by heating a large, deep fire-proof saucepan on the grill. With a pair of succors, cut the bacon strips into small pieces about the size of your thumbnail. Cook until crisp but do not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Wipe out the sauce pan so that it can be used later. Once bacon is cool, add it to a bowl with the ground chuck and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix until bacon is distributed evenly throughout beef. Form into 6 patties. Any bacon that is sticking out of the patty push or tuck it back into patty. Cover with plastic wrap and place in icebox until ready to grill.
To make the creamy sauce, add olive oil and chopped garlic to the saucepan. Cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add browned garlic to cream cheese and salt and mix well. Cover and set aside.
To make the Fried Banana Pepper Rings, begin by heating about 2 inches of oil in the saucepan used to cook the bacon pieces on the grill until the temperature reaches 360 degree F. Combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper in a gallon sized zip lock bag making sure to mix well. Next take about half of the banana pepper rings from their brine, shaking off any excess liquid before dropping them into the flour mixture. Coat evenly. Remove from bag, shake off excess flour and add to hot oil. Fry until crust is golden, about 2 minutes. Repeat the coating and frying process with remaining banana peppers and set aside.
Make sure grill is still preheated to medium high.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, place cheese topped patty on the bun bottom. Follow by an equal portion of the fried banana peppers. Spread an equal portion of the creamy sauce on the inside of the bun top and place on top and serve.
Makes six burgers.