Coney Island Chili Burgers with Sweet Onion and Pickle Butter

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.


For the Pickle Butter:
2 sticks (1 1/2 cup) Ultra Creamy salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup minced cornichon (pulse in food processor 15-20 times)
3/4 cup minced sweet onion (pulse in food processor 15-20 times)
For the Chili Sauce:
1/4 cup avocado or grapeseed oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 tsp. fine sea salt, divided
6 cups sweet onion, minced (pulse in food processor in 2 batches 20-30 times)
3 Tbsp. mild chili powder
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. mashed garlic (mince and then mash into a paste with the side of your chef's knife)
1/2 cup Spicy Ketchup
1/2 cup Steak Sauce
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
For the Coney Island Burgers:
1/2 cup fresh white bread cubes, crusts removed
1 Tbsp. heavy cream, kept very cold
1 Tbsp. Steak Sauce
6 oz. bacon (raw) coarsely chopped, kept very cold
1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. mashed garlic
1 1/2 lb. ground sirloin, divided, kept very cold
To Finish the Burgers:
avocado or grapeseed oil for brushing grill and burgers
12 prepared (uncooked) burgers (hot dog shaped), from step #4 below
12 challa or brioched style hot dog rolls, each at least 5 1/2" long, and 2" wide, split down the side or top
Pickle Butter Chili Sauce topping, kept warm
2 cups minced sweet onion (minced by hand-not with food processor)



1) Prepare Your Grill: FOR A GAS GRILL: If you have a grill that has more than one section, heat one section to high and one to medium. If you only have one section, heat it to medium. 2) For the Pickle Butter: Place the softened (room temperature) 16 Tbsp. butter into a small mixing bowl and add the 1 cup minced cornichon and 1 cup minced sweet onion. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture until everything is evenly combined. Cover and set aside at room temperature until you are ready to serve (you can prepare the Pickle Butter up to 2 weeks ahead of time; keep it covered and refrigerated, but bring it to room temperature before using it). 3) For the Chili Sauce: Place a deep sided heavy duty non-reactive dutch oven (I use stainless steel) onto the hottest part of your grill. When the pan is hot, add the 1/4 cup avocado or grapeseed oil. When the oil is hot (it will get hot almost immediately), add the ground sirloin (crumble it evenly over the bottom of the pan) and brown the meat (don't stir or move it until it is brown on the bottom). As the meat browns and releases meat juices, break it up with a wooden or metal spoon. Add 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, stir to combine and cook until all of the liquid/juices released from the meat are reduced (the meat will stop steaming and begin sizzling and browning in the fat)-about 5-6 minutes. Add the 6 cups chopped onion and remaining 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt. And stir to combine. Cook meat and onions over high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly (be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any yummy brown bits that have formed there), until all of hte onion juices are reduced (about 6-7 minutes). Add the 3 Tbsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 4 Tbsp. mashed fresh garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (no longer or the chili powder and garlic will burn). Move the pan to a spot on the grill that is about medium heat (or turn down the heat on the grill) and add the 1/2 cup Spicy Ketchup, 1/2 cup steak sauce and 3/4 cup Dijon mustard and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer on the grill, stirring constantly, and cook for about 5 minutes (medium heat). Move the pan to the coolest part of the grill and cover it to keep the chili sauce warm until you are ready to serve. The chili sauce can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and kept well covered in the refrigerator; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and keep warm before using on the burgers). 4) For the Coney Islad Chile Burgers: Place the 1/2 cup bread cubes into a small bowl and add the 1 Tbsp. heavy cream and 1 Tbsp. steak sauce. Mash the bread into the cream and steak sauce with your fingers, making sure it is all completely saturated and set it aside for a few minutes. Place the raw bacon into the food processor and proces until finely ground. Add the bread mixture, 1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp. mashed fresh garlic and about 1/3 of the ground sirloin to the bacon in the processor and process until everything is completely mixed and you have a homogenous paste. Scrape the paste out of the processor into a large mixing bowl that has been set into another bowl filled with ice (no water-you just want to keep the meat mixture as cold as possible while you work), and spread the mixture out over the bottom of the bowl with the back of a spoon. Crumble the remaining ground sirloin over the meat paste in the chilled bowl and gently but thoroughly incorporate the sirloin into the meat paste. NOTE: You will need to use your hands for this. Although you do not want to handle the meat any more than necessary, you do want to make sure the meat paste and ground meat are thoroughly and evenly combined. You may have to squish the mixture through your fingers a bit. When the paste and ground meat are thoroughly combined (there shoudl not be any visibly discernable chunks of sirloin left in the mixture) divide the mixture into 12 portions (about 1/3 cup of the mixture per portion). Use the avocado or grapeseed oil to coat your hands (or coat your hands with ice water) and gently form each portion into a 5 1/2 inch long and 3/4-1 inch wide hot dog shape (it will shrink when cooked-so it will be slightly shorter than the bun). Place the hot dog shaped burgers onto a chilled platter, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to grill (chill, ideally, for at least 30 minutes- but if your mixing bowl was very cold and all of the ingredients were very cold and the platter is very cold you can get away without chilling them-just let them "set" on the cold platter for at least 10 minutes). 5) To Cook and Finish the Burgers: NOTE: Have a spray bottle filled with water ready (grill-side) when you cook the burgers to put out any flare-ups (flames) that result from the melting/dripping fat from the burgers. Brush the grill with a little avocado or grapeseed oil. Brush the burgers with a little oil as well. Taking care to not detach the top buns from the bottom buns, gently open each bun (like a book), spread a generous 2 Tbsp. of the Pickle Butter onto the insides of each bun, and then re-close it. Wrap 6 buns in one layer in aluminum foil and place onto the cooler part of the grill (do this 5 minutes before you start to cook the burgers). Repeat with the remaining 6 buns. Grill the hot dog shaped burgers on the hottest part of the grill, uncovered for about 1-2 minutes per side (turning them to cook on all 4 sides- about 6-8 minutes total) with the grill top down (you want to cook them to about medium to medium well-about 140 degrees-the bread "panade" and bacon will keep them juicy), turning them once or twice. When the burgers are done, place them into the toasted buns on the plates (two to a plate). Top each one with a generous 1/3 cup chili sauce and 2 Tbsp. of the minced sweet onion. Serve and Enjoy!! Serves 6 (one serveing = 2 Coney Island Chili Burgers). NOTE: You may have Pickle Butter and Chili Sauce left over- they both freeze very well if well wrapped.