“Shore” Good Maryland Surf & Turf Burgers

Pairs well with:


Get cozy and get pouring. Our Merlot is the wine for long weekends and lengthy chats.

This is a decadent Maryland burger that highlights three ingredients for which my great state is known – crab meat, Old Bay seasoning and tomatoes.

Maryland crab meat was used for crab cakes by Indian women dating back to the 16th century and has been a staple of the local diet ever since. The blue crab has been linked to Maryland more than any other wild food. Most children can pick crabs before they walk!

Old Bay seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices produced in Maryland. It is named for the Chesapeake Bay area where it was developed in the 1940s and remains very popular today. At the time, steamed crabs seasoned with Old Bay were so plentiful that bars in Baltimore, Maryland offered them for free.

Tomatoes, economically, are the second most important vegetable crop grown in Maryland. Two thirds are produced for fresh market outlets. Locals look forward to buying these big juicy tomatoes at roadside stands every year on the Eastern Shore.

In this recipe, I take a classic burger and top it with a fragrant crab mixture kicked up with Old Bay seasoning. The Maryland tomatoes enhance both the beef and crab while the Meyer lemon aioli pulls all the flavors together. Enjoy!


Meyer Lemon Aioli

½ cup high-quality mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne

Kosher salt


2 pounds ground sirloin Certified Angus Beef

¼ cup finely chopped shallots

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons Sutter Home Merlot

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Crab Topping:

½ tablespoon Colavita extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

3 slices fully cooked packaged bacon, torn into small pieces

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon Sutter Home White Merlot

1 tablespoon sherry

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

½ teaspoon Meyer lemon zest

¾ pound Maryland lump crab meat, picked

1 large egg, beaten

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 large sandwich size English muffins, split

6 Bibb lettuce leaves

6 slices ripe Maryland tomato, about ¼-inch thick


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest, garlic and cayenne in small bowl. Season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the patties, combine the beef, shallots, chives, garlic, Merlot, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the English muffin size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the garlic; cook until fragrant. Add bacon and ginger; cook until bacon is crisp. Stir in Merlot, sherry, Old Bay seasoning and lemon zest. Stir constantly until seasonings bloom, about 1-2 minutes. Carefully fold in crab meat, stirring gently to avoid breaking lumps. Add egg and cheese. Stir gently just until mixture holds together and cheese is melted. Remove from grill and keep warm.

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. Wrap patties in foil and let rest while toasting muffins. Place the muffins, cut side up, on the rack and toast, covered, about 2 minutes. Turn the muffins cut side down and toast, covered, about 1 minute.

To assemble the burgers, spread the Meyer lemon aioli over the cut sides of the muffins. On each muffin bottom, place a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice and a patty. Place an equal portion of the crab mixture on top of each patty. Add the muffin tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers