Hudson Valley Smokehouse Onion Burgers
I grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State, a lush river side area at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. It was a place where blueberries grew wild and nearby to what was, when I was growing up, known as the Onion Capitol of the World.I loved picking blueberries on the dirt road across from my house-usually just eating them right off the bush. Things change though and the dirt road is now paved and edged with lovely homes and many of the nearby onion fields sit fallow as many Americans now seem to favor the sweeter onions of the south. Blueberries are incorporated into these Hudson Valley inspired burgers to add a little extra juiciness to the meat. The patties are then topped with a tasty local Camembert Cheese, country bacon and spicy yellow onions to create a “palate” of flavors reflective of the beautiful Hudson River Valley.
2 1/2 pounds freshly ground beef sirloin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
12 slices smoked country style bacon (thick sliced)
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco Chipotle pepper sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 Yellow Globe onion, peeled and very thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Oil to brush the grill
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil
6 Kaiser Rolls, split
8 ounces Hudson Valley Camembert Cheese (Old Chatham Sheepherding)
6 Romaine Lettuce Leaves, coarsely chopped
Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat.
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently fold in the blueberries. Form the mixture into six equal sized patties, cover and set aside.
Heat a large, heavy fireproof skillet on the grill, when the skillet is hot, cook the bacon a few slices at a time until brown and crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan; whisk the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and brown sugar into the remaining drippings. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and browned-about 20-30 minutes; keep warm while preparing the patties.
Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the grill rack and cook in a closed grill for 4 minutes. While the patties are cooking, lightly brush the extra virgin olive oil onto the cut sides of the rolls. Flip the patties using a spatula and cook for an additional 4 minutes for medium rare or continue cooking until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, arrange the rolls on the edges of the grill, cut side down, to lightly toast. Remove the patties from the grill and immediately top with a portion of the Camembert cheese.
To assemble the burgers, place a few pieces of the Romaine lettuce on the bottom half of each toasted roll, top with the patties, cheese side up. Criss-cross two slices of the bacon over the cheese, then spoon a generous amount of the onions over each and top with the remaining roll halves.