Jalapeno Beef Burger featuring Iowa Garlic Bacon and a Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise

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

The state of Iowa is known for four food products (corn, dairy, beef, and pork) so I chose to showcase three of these items in my Jalapeno Beef Burger featuring Iowa Garlic Bacon and a Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise.As a native of the state, I wanted to create a burger that was classic Iowa: simple, yet filling. No need for complicated reductions or fancy herbs, the Iowa way of life is all about ease and approachability. I chose to add the Habanero Jack cheese and spicy sauce to represent the fact that Iowans also like an extra “kick” to complement their most famous commodities. Iowans may be simple, but we are never boring!


Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise
1 Cup Hellmans mayonnaise
Juice from one lemon
1 Teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon paprika
1/2 Teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1/8 Teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 Shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

12 Slices Garlic Bacon (if not available, regular bacon is fine)
8oz. Garlic Bacon
7 Jalapenos, cut down the middle, seeded and thinly sliced

2 Pounds Ground Chuck
2 Teaspoons Kosher salt
8oz. Chopped Garlic Bacon
Sauteed jalapenos

2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on the grill
6 Slices Great Midwest Habanero Jack Cheese, available at Sams Club (If not available, pepper jack is fine)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
6 Old Fashioned Cottage buns split
6 Pieces of Iceberg Lettuce


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the Spicy Lemon Mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, paprika, chili powder, pepper, garlic salt, and shallots in a medium bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients thoroughly together to combine the flavors. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

Heat a large, heavy non-stick fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the 12 slices of garlic bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to retain heat and set aside. Using the same skillet, next cook the 8oz. of garlic bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain, then chop and set aside. Remove bacon fat from skillet, but leave a little in the bottom of the pan. Put skillet back on grill with remaining bacon fat and add sliced jalapenos and saute till soft; set aside.

To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, salt, chopped bacon and sauteed jalapenos in a large bowl. Shape into six patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

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, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the Habanero Jack cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Butter the buns then place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, place a burger with cheese on each cut side bottom bun, followed by two bacon slices and a leaf of iceberg lettuce. Next add a generous amount of the spicy lemon mayonnaise to the cut side top bun. Add the top bun and serve.