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.

I entered the contest for the first time last year with a fairly complicated Indian-inspired burger with several exotic ingredients.Though delicious enough to become a finalist, I decided this year to try something completely different. I wanted to go back to the basics, taking the classic burger and elevating all the ingredients, making my very own pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise and grinding the meat to make a incredibly noticeable difference. The burger has familiar flavors, but feels like it has had a bit of a make-over to become “Elevated.”


Quick Garlicky Pickles

1 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Organic Honey
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
2 small kirby cucumbers (preferably organic), sliced into 1/8-1/4 inch round slices


1 14.5 ounce can of organic whole peeled tomatoes in puree
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, grated with rasp (Microplane) grater
½ tablespoon of tomato paste
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
¼ teaspoon of sea salt

Hand-Whisked Mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, grated with a rasp (Microplane grater)
1 organic egg yolk, preferably from grass fed chickens
2 pinches of sea salt
1 cup olive oil
A few drops of lemon juice

3/4 pound of organic beef brisket, well chilled, cut into large chunks
¾ pound of organic sirloin, well chilled, cut into large chunks
¾ pound organic chuck roast, well chilled and cut into large chunks
½ tablespoon of red miso paste mixed with 1/8 cup of Pinot Grigio
½ tablespoon of organic soy sauce
½ stick well chilled organic butter, cut in six slices
2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper

12 strips of bacon
6 slices of artisan cheddar cheese

3 Tablespoons softened butter
6 Brioche buns from a reputable bakery

6 pieces of crisp romaine lettuce, washed and dried


For the pickles, bring all ingredients except for the dill and cucumbers to boil in a fireproof small skillet over medium high heat. Heat until the honey is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Place cucumbers and dill in a glass bowl, pour the liquid over and stir to combine. Set aside in refrigerator or cooler for flavors to combine, about 2 hours.

For the ketchup, heat oil in a medium sized fireproof saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and cook for about 1 minute add garlic and cook both until the onions are translucent, about 7-8 more minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for about an hour until the mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the ketchup with a hand blender, blender, or food processor, being careful of the hot ketchup. Place in a non-reactive bowl (glass) and set in the refrigerator or cooler to blend flavors and cool.

Place half the grated garlic in a non-reactive glass bowl with the egg yolk and salt, and stir to combine. SLOWLY drizzle the olive oil into the yolk, whisking constantly. Add the few drops of lemon juice and continue to whisk. The Mayonaise will start to thicken. Taste and add more garlic, lemon or salt, to your taste preference.

To make the patties, you must first ground the meat. Either ask your butcher to grind all meats (1/16 inch pieces), use a meat grinder (hand grinder or attachment on blender), or you can also use a food processor, but cut the meat into ¼ inch pieces first.

Once the meat is ground, combine with miso/Pinot Grigio mixture and soy sauce. Lightly mix to combine, making sure not to over mix, or this will make the burgers tough. Divide into 6 equal portions and begin to form patties. Place on slice of butter in the center of each patty, and form meat around the butter, so it is completely encased in the meat. Sprinkle ground pepper on outside of patties and chill until ready to cook.

Cook bacon in a fireproof cast iron skillet until browned over medium high heat, about 10 minutes. Reserve bacon fat.

When ready to cook burgers, heat grill to medium high. When grill is hot, use a paper towel to brush the grates with the reserved bacon fat. Cook patties on one side for about 4-5 minutes, without touching. Flip burgers and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Place one slice of cheese on the top of each burger, close grill and cook for another 1 minute. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

While burgers are resting, toast the buns. Butter both sides of buns and place on the grill for 1-2 minutes (with the grill lid closed).

To assemble the burgers, spread mayonnaise on the bottom bun. Place patty (with cheese) on top of bun, with the pickles and 2 slices of bacon on top of that. Spread ketchup on top bun and place on top of the burger. Enjoy this elevation!