Pepper Jelly Glazed Burgers with Sweet and Salty Tapenade, Bacon and Blue Cheese Spinach Salad

Pairs well with:


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

Pepper Jelly is one of my favorite condiments to use. It’s sweet, spicy and not just for crackers! I made a glaze out of it for a big juicy beef burger and used it to dress a spinach blue cheese salad that goes on top.


Burger Patties:

2 pounds ground beef chuck preferably with 20% fat content

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large cloves garlic, minced

12 slices bacon


3 Tablespoons golden raisins

1 large garlic clove, minced

¼ cup sun dried tomatoes

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

½ teaspoon black pepper

Pepper Jelly Dressing and Glaze:

¾ cup jalapeno pepper jelly

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Spinach Salad Topping:

¼ teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons golden raisins

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

4 ounces baby spinach leaves

6 slices muenster cheese (1 ounce each)

6 bakery onion buns


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

To make the patties, combine the beef chuck, salt, black pepper and garlic in a medium sized mixing bowl until well blended handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the bun size. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm and set aside to use later.

To prepare the Tapenade place in a mini food processor the golden raisins, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, kalamata olives, sesame seeds and black pepper. Process until the consistency is a chunky paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Prepare the Pepper Jelly Dressing and Glaze. In a small fire proof sauce pot whisk the jalapeno pepper jelly, honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic and apple cider vinegar until well incorporated. Remove 4 Tablespoons of the dressing and place it in a large mixing bowl and set it aside for later. Place the remaining dressing in the sauce pot over the medium high heat of the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes until thickened into a glaze.

For the Spinach Salad Topping take the large mixing bowl that the 4 Tablespoons of Pepper Jelly Dressing was placed in and add the salt, raisins, sesame seeds and blue cheese crumbles. Stir to combine. Add the baby spinach leaves and toss lightly until the salad is evenly dressed. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to assemble burgers.

When the grill is ready brush the grill rack with vegetable oil.

Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through just until the juices run clear when the patties are pierced in the center. During the last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, brush patties with Pepper Jelly Glaze and top with the muenster cheese slices.

Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling watching very closely to avoid burning.

To assemble the burgers, spread the bottom side of the toasted bun generously with the Tapenade. Top with two slices of bacon per burger, top each with an equal amount of spinach Salad Topping and a burger patty. Add the bun tops and serve immediately.

Makes 6 burgers