Smoked Heartland Burger with Bacon Home Fries and Onions (re-submitted)
Hickory wood chips (enough to fill smoker box, about 1 to 2 cups for average size box)
Smoker box for gas grill
Bacon Home fries and Onions:
1/2 pound bacon, un-cooked and chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
1-1/2 teaspoons salt (also used in patties)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (also used in patties)
1 pound fresh ground chuck (see note)
1 pound fresh ground sirloin (see note)
2 teaspoons salt (also used in Bacon Home fries)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (also used in Bacon Home Fries)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic – minced
1/4 cup Sutter Home Syrah
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
6 bakery-baked Kaiser rolls, split
6 leaves red leaf lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 slices red onion, cut into rings
6 tablespoons commercially-prepared barbecue sauce
9 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, sliced
Place wood chips in a large bowl and add enough water to cover the wood chips. Allow wood chips to soak in the water 30 minutes. This prevents the wood chips for catching on fire. Drain the water off the wood chips and place the wood chips in the smoker box. Remove the grill grates and place the smoker box directly on the heating elements of the grill, below the grates. Replace the grates and preheat the gas grill to medium-high, approximately 400 degrees.
To make the Bacon Home fries and Onions, place a 12-inch fireproof skillet on the grill rack, over direct heat. Add the bacon and fry 7 to 10 minutes or until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, while leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet. Add the vegetable shortening to the skillet and heat until shortening is melted and hot, approximately 350 degrees. Carefully add the sliced potatoes and spread evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Place the sliced onions on top of the potatoes in an even layer. Cook, with the grill cover closed, approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until starting to brown. Using a spatula, turn potatoes over; sprinkle bacon over the top of the potatoes and continue to cook another 12 minutes, or until potatoes are crispy. Transfer to a paper-towels lined platter, spinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper over the potatoes. Set aside until ready to serve.
While the potatoes are frying, begin making the patties. Combine the ground chuck, ground sirloin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, garlic, and Sutter Home Syrah in a large bowl. Mix well, while handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.
Brush the pre-heated grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, around the smoker box, cover, and cook each side 4 to 6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. when tested with a quick-read thermometer. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, place a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, red onion slice and a patty on the cut side of each roll bottom. Top each patty with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, a portion of the Bacon Home Fries and Onions and 1-1/2 ounce smoked cheddar cheese. Add the roll tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers