Sweet Southern Salmon Burgers with Lingonberry-Blood Orange Relish

Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.


Sweet Southern Bourbon Marinade:
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup of high quality Kentucky bourbon
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
and 4 tablespoons of the smokehouse rub outlined below

1 3/4 lbs fresh salmon, finely chopped
3/4 cup cooled Sweet Southern Bourbon Marinade
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pecans, chopped coarsley
1.4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/8 cup Swedish mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup Vidalia onion, grated
3 tablespoons Williams and Sonoma Smokehouse Rub (or 2 teaspoons each applewood smoked salt, coarse ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoons each dried thyme, chopped rubbed sage, and sugar)

For the coating:
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup pecans, crushed finely

For the Lingonberry-Orange Relish
1 14.5 ounce jar lingonberry preserves (whole berry cranberry sauce will do in a pinch)
2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced into supremes
1/2 cup blood orange juice
1/2 cup Sutter Home White Merlot wine
2 tablespoons blood orange zest

A canola oil/olive oil blend for brushing the racks
1/4 cup Sweet Southern Bourbon marinade
6 pieces of butter lettuce
6 honey wheat buns, split


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

To make the glaze, combine the garlic paste and olive oil in a medium skillet until the garlic begins to brown. Deglaze the pan with the bourbon and then add in the brown sugar. Once the mixture has reached a syrupy consistency. Add the smokehouse rub in and set to the side to cool.

To make the patties, combine the salmon, the bourbon marinade, the egg, breadcrumbs, pecans, mustard, brown sugar, maple syrup, onion, and seasonings into a large bowl. Mix until just combined (the mixture will be wet) and form into 6 equal sized patties. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or until needed.

To make the relish, place the entire jar of preserves into a medium sauce pan over a cooler zone in the grill. While it is melting, zest, peel, and slice your blood oranges into supremes. Once the preserves have melted, add in the blood orange juice and white merlot and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the supremes and the zest and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.

Once the grill is up to temperature, brush the grill rack with the olive and canola oil mixtures. Combine the leftover panko and crushed pecans in a low dish. Coat all sides of the salmon patties with the breadcrumb mixture and then place on the middle of the grill rack. Cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. While the patties are cooking, toast the honey wheat buns on the edges of the grill for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, place the salmon patties on the bottom of the bun and then spread with a thin layer of the marinade. On the top bun, spread the relish on thick. Top the patty with a crisp piece of butter lettuce, the top bun, and enjoy!