Grass-Fed BLT Burger with Toasted Garden-Fresh Pesto Rolls

Pairs well with:


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


2 pounds grass-fed ground chuck
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground tri-color peppercorns

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

vegetable oil for grill rack
12 ounces local farmers cheese, sliced in 2 ounces slices
6 bakery-fresh sourdough rolls, split
6 leaves Bibb lettuce
6 thick slices heirloom tomatoes
12 slices pre-cooked crisp, thick-cut bacon


Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, add “Patties” ingredients; lightly mix until well combined, but not compacted. Divide meat mixture into six equal patties and chill until ready to grill.

To make the pesto, combine the basil and the walnuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper and pulse again until blended.

Brush the pre-heated grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook each side about 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked to medium doneness. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each burger with cheese.

Place cut-side of the roll tops and bottoms down on the outer edges of the rack to warm and slightly toast (about 1-2 minutes). Spread about 1-1/2 teaspoons of pesto over the toasted bottom and top cut sides of each roll.

To assemble, place a lettuce leaf, followed by a tomato over each pesto-covered roll bottom. Top each with a burger and 2 pieces of bacon, cut in half; cover with roll tops and serve.

Serves 6