New England Prime Ribessence Burger

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.

A hearty cut of prime rib of beef, cooked perfectly, is a delicacy to those who crave red meat. I was born, raised, and still reside in New England: specifically, Vermont. Prime rib while it lasts, is a foregone conclusion at most any steak house or restaurant that desires to draw-in a populous of healthy, carnivourous appetites.

My family held a Holiday ritual that included prime-rib on Christmas Eve. It was a coveted dish—more than any other at any time of the year. On a rare occasion, we might have a rib for a birthday or another holiday, but for Christmas Eve it was an absolute. The meal guaranteed a menu that I still prepare to this day as the ultimate prime-rib dinner. Just the thought of a crisp salad; the aroma of French onion soup, and the sensation of warm, garlic and rosemary encrusted prime rib touching my tongue activates my salivary glands.

As an adult, I find more frequent occasions to cook prime rib; however, this tends to happen more in the winter months. In the summer months I crave the flavor of the meal. In the midst of one of those cravings; when summer was in full swing and the grill was the primary cooking utility; I created what eventually became titled, The New England Prime Ribessence Burger.

This burger encapsulates the combination of core flavors in the traditional Prime Rib dinner that I appreciate, and it is so easy to make that it is difficult to turn the oven on now, even in the winter!

The availability of the ingredients in the New England Prime Ribessence Burger, coupled with the simplicity of preparation, make this burger the perfect treat to satisfy the Prime Rib dinner craving when summer is in full bloom—or the snow is as high as the roof!


Ribessence Sauce:

1/2 cup de-stemmed and finely chopped flat (Italian) parsley leaves
1 cup high-quality mayonnaise
2 ¼ teaspoon ground rosemary
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon refined white sugar

12 lettuce leaves; red leaf lettuce, washed
1 large white rustic Artisan bread batard shaped loaves (approximately 5 inches wide and 3 inches high and 12 to 14 inches long)


2 pounds ground sirloin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper as desired

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 slices Spanish onion (approx. 3 inches in diameter, sliced 3/16ths to ¼ inch thick)
1/2 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
10 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated with a rotary-style grater


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

In a small bowl, combine the chopped parsley leaves, mayonnaise, ground rosemary, onion powder, ground black pepper and refined white sugar. Mix thoroughly; cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

Extract the top 3 inch portion of lettuce leaves and de-vein if the growth core is thick. Cover with plastic wrap, or place in plastic storage container and return to refrigerator.

Slice the bread batard in half. At the sliced side of each half, make three even slices 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness. Mate each slice with the opposing slice of approximately the same size and place them on a baking sheet.

Divide the ground sirloin into 6 portions. Create ¾ to 1 inch thick patties of uniform thickness that match the shape of, and are slightly larger than the bread slices. Lightly salt and pepper from a pepper grinder each side of the patties. Place on platter loosely covered with plastic wrap and set aside.

With the grill at the desired temperature, brush the rack with vegetable oil. Grill onion slices on both sides, basting generously with the wine until the onions have wilted, but the ring holds shape; approximately 5 minutes. Remove from grill.

Place batard slices on the rack and lightly grill one side. Flip and grill the opposing side more, until rack marks are present. Remove from grill and generously rub the garlic clove across the second side grilled.

Place patties on grill and cook for 4 minutes. Flip patties and cook for 2 minutes. Top each burger with a thin layer of grated Gruyere cheese and cook covered for 1 minute. Place two onion slices on the top of each burger and top with the remaining grated cheese. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes for medium.

To assemble the burgers, spread each bread slice generously with Ribessence sauce on garlic rubbed side. Place patty on one slice, top with red-leaf lettuce and cover with mated bread slice. Plate and serve with additional dollop of Ribessence sauce next to burger.

Makes 6 burgers