Kick Me in the Buckeye Burger

Pairs well with:


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

My family,friends, fresh ingredients, and this contest!. They challenged me to come up with a burger that was fresh, tangy, and had a “WOW” factor. It took me a while to perfect, but now the dill-flavored burger brings out the coolness of the cucumbers and beets as the peppercorns give it a kick. This burger always has my family and friends asking for more.


Cucumber Salad-
1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/4 pounds ground chuck
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Peppery Beet Spread-
1 1/2 pounds fresh beets, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot
2 tablespoons crushed pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 good quality Kaiser rolls, split
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips


To make cucumber salad, place cucumber and onion in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt. With hand, gently squeeze cucumber and onion while mixing. Set aside uncovered for 10 minutes to draw out water. (While waiting, you may prepare the patties, if desired.) In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and oil. Drain salad mixture well. Pour dressing over salad mixture and lightly toss. Cover and refrigerate to bring out flavors until serving.

To make patties, in a large bowl combine beef, dill, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls. Leave a slight indentation in the center of patties to allow equal thickness when grilling has been completed. Set aside until grilling.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make peppery beet spread, combine beets and wine in a blender and process until pureed, about 1 minute. Pour mixture into a fire-proof saucepan and place on a gas grill over medium-high heat. Bring to a slow boil; frequently stirring. Remove from heat and stir in peppercorns and zest. Set aside uncovered. Keep warm until serving.

Brush grill rack with oil. Place patties on the rack, cover, and grill until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the patties once and continue grilling until done to preference, about 3 – 5 minutes longer. During the last few minutes of grilling, carefully place the rolls, cut-side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to lightly toast.

To assemble burgers, spread a generous amount of peppery beet spread over the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a patty. Lightly drain cucumber salad and place an equal amount of salad on top of each patty. Evenly sprinkle salad-topped patty with crushed chips. Add the roll tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.