Garden Gate Burgers with Blue Cheese and Smoky Pepper Bacon

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
Fresh baby spinach, 1/2 cup chopped and 18 whole leaves
2 tablespoons sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan & Garlic flavored crackers, crushed
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 teaspoon ground sage
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 ounces spreadable cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter, divided
6 (4 1/2 inch) onion buns, split
12 pre-cooked bacon slices
6 (1/4 inch thick) large tomato slices



Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. To make the filling, combine the egg, corn kernels, 1/2 cup chopped spinach, onion, crackers, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl and set aside. To make the patties, combine 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chuck and sage in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture in 12 equal portions and form into patties to fit the buns. On top of six patties, place 1/4 cup of the corn filling within 1/2 inch of the edge of the patty. Place remaining patties on top and seal the edges. 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, 6-8 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile, stir together the blue cheese, cream cheese and 1 tablespoon butter in a small bowl and set aside. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter on the cut sides of the buns. In the final minutes of grilling, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. Preheat a rimmed grilling pan alongside the patties. During the final 30 seconds, add the bacon slices to the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper on the bacon. When the bacon is crisp, remove from pan. To assemble burgers, spread the cheese mixture over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty, tomato slice, 3 spinach leaves and 2 slices bacon. Add the top buns and serve.