Oktoberfest Beer Cheese Burgers
My inspiration for this burger was my favorite time of year, fall. I love everything about this season and I always find myself wishing it lasted a whole lot longer. With the flavors and aromas of this burger, I can capture some of what I love most about fall, all year long.
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 gala apples, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup canned pumpkin
1 cup pumpkin ale
Pistachio and cinnamon encrusted bacon:
2 cups shelled pistachios
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 slices center cut bacon
1 ¼ lb. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 garlic cloves
7-ounce bottle of beer
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
For the burgers:
.5 lbs. bratwurst (about 3 brats), chopped into ¼” – ½” pieces
1.5 lbs. ground chuck
6 burger-sized kaiser or potato buns/rolls, split
2 cups of purple cabbage, finely shredded or sliced
Special equipment: 3-qt. fireproof saucepan, baking sheet with rack, food processor
For the apple-pumpkin chutney:
Heat a gas grill to medium (adjust as needed). In a 3 qt. saucepan, add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the apple, onion, rosemary, salt and pepper to the pan and cook until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Deglaze with the pumpkin ale and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring often to ensure everything is well combined. Add the pumpkin to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the pistachio encrusted bacon:
Meanwhile, while the chutney is cooking, place a baking rack on a large baking sheet. In a food processor, grind the pistachios until fine and combine with the cinnamon in a small bowl or plate. Dredge each bacon slice through the pistachio-cinnamon mixture until thoroughly coated. Spread the prepared bacon slices out on the baking rack and, after the chutney is removed, reduce the heat slightly to med-low and place the bacon on the grill. With the cover down, cook the bacon for 10 – 15 minutes or until done, turning every 5 minutes. Reserve the drippings and set the bacon aside.
For the beer cheese:
While the bacon is cooking, add the cheese, garlic, beer, salt, and hot sauce to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
For the patties:
Increase the grill setting to medium. Combine the chopped brats with the ground chuck. Shape six patties out of the meat mixture, of equal size. Grill the patties for 5 – 7 minutes per side (for medium). When finished, remove from the grill and set aside. Meanwhile, brush the cut side of each of the 12 bun halves with some of the reserved bacon drippings and place on the outer edges of the grill to lightly char, about a minute.
Spread about 1 tablespoon of beer cheese onto each bottom bun and follow with ½ cup of the shredded cabbage. Top the cabbage on each bun with a burger patty, followed by a heaping tablespoon (this is to taste) of the apple-pumpkin chutney. Top with two bacon slices and finish each burger with the bun tops. Serve and enjoy!