Grilled Green Tomato Burgers with Garlic Lemon Mayonnaise, Shoestring Fries, Smoked Bacon, and Bad Boy’s BBQ Sauce on Pretzel Buns

Accolades 2012 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
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.

My burger captures the true essence of southern ingredients with grilled green tomatoes, garlicky lemon mayonnaise, shoestring fries, and homemade BBQ sauce.


12 slices smoked bacon

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 1/4 pounds ground chuck (80/20)
1/3 cup Bad Boy BBQ sauce (from above)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil, for brushing on the grill rack, tomatoes, and
6 quality slices (1/2-inch-thick) large green (unripe) tomatoes

2 large russet potatoes, peeled
About 1 1/2 cups peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 slices (1/4-inch-thick) sharp Cheddar cheese
6 pretzel buns, split


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the grill rack.

Place the bacon in the skillet and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm. Remove the skillet from the grill.

To make the mayonnaise, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a fireproof saucepan and whisk together. Place the pan on the grill and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature. Set aside.

To prepare the patties, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, gently mix together using a large spoon. Form into 6 equal patties with a thumb dimple in the center of each patty and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To grill the tomatoes, adjust the grill heat to medium-high. Brush the grill rack and tomato slices with olive oil. Place the tomatoes on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the fries, using a mandolin, slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Then cut each slice into long 1/8-inch-wide strips. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the grill, add the peanut oil, and heat to 375 degrees F. Working in small batches, add the potatoes to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted utensil, remove to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with the salt. Repeat the process until all the potatoes have been fried. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm. Set aside.

Brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, for 10 minutes. During the last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, brush the patties with the BBQ sauce and add a slice of cheese on top of each patty. During the same time, brush the buns with olive oil and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack and toast lightly to golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, slather the toasted sides of the buns with some of the mayonnaise. Place 2 slices of bacon on each bottom bun and add a patty. On top of each patty place 1 slice of grilled tomato and top with a pile of the fries. Drizzle the fries heavily with BBQ sauce. Add the bun tops, secure with wooden skewers, and serve immediately.