The Mitten Burger

Accolades 2020 Finalists
Serves 6
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.

I love to cook staying as local as I can with my ingredients to support local producers. This burger highlights the produce and plenty that comes out of the state of Michigan, where we currently reside. Fondly called the Mitten State for its shape, Michigan is known for its abundance of apples, cherries, blueberries and corn. It is also surprisingly one of the largest growers of asparagus. Raw local honey and maple syrup are everywhere! The Mitten Burger features a spicy cherry barbecue sauce and a savory blueberry mayonnaise. I combine two kinds of locally sourced beef: ground sirloin and teres steak, which is a gorgeous and very tender cut from the shoulder, but this burger can also be made just with ground sirloin. The beef is spiked with fresh Michigan corn and blueberries, topped with locally produced cheddar cheese, spicy maple infused apples, and a bright refreshing asparagus slaw. Although I stay local for this creation, all the ingredients are easy to find wherever you live.

Serves: 6 Regular-Sized Burgers

INGREDIENTS:

Mitten Cherry BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup cherry juice
  • ¼ cup local honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Mitten Blueberry Mayonnaise:

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Mitten Slaw:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ fresh cucumber, thinly cut
  • 4 large asparagus spears, trimmed and shredded lengthwise
  • ¼ red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Spiced Maple Apples:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red apple, cored and slivered thin
  • ½ large red onion, slivered thin
  • 1 tablespoon local maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled dried sage
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mitten Burger:

  • 1 pound (80/20) ground sirloin
  • 1 pound teres steak, shoulder steak or ground sirloin
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 large brioche buns

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mitten Cherry BBQ Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Immediately reduce to simmer and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until very thick
  3. Using a hand blender or regular small processor, blend the mixture until smooth – then set aside

Mitten Blueberry Mayonnaise:

  1. Loosely blend together the mayonnaise ingredients in a small processor and chill in a small bowl until ready to use

Mitten Slaw:

  1. Slice up all your ingredients as directed and whisk the oil, vinegar, chili powder, and salt together in a large bowl and toss in the remaining ingredients – then set aside

Spicy Maple Apples:

  1. Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet then add the apples and onion and cook on medium until they begin to soften and brown, then turn heat to low
  2. Stir in the syrup, herbs and pepper, and cover the skillet – then set aside

Mitten Burger:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the meat, blueberries, corn, oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until well combined
  2. Divide and pat into six equal burger patties, flattening to about 3/4-inch thickness
  3. Heat the grill to medium high (about 375 degrees) and grill on one side for 3 minutes, then flip and grill for about 5 minutes on the other for medium, or grill to your preferred temperature while adding the cheese with about a minute to go to melt it slightly
  4. Wrap the buns in foil and heat quickly on the grill when you flip the patties

Assemble:

  1. To serve each burger, assemble the layers like this: spread some of the blueberry mayonnaise on the bottom bun, add on some slaw, then the burger and cheese
  2. Top with a layer of the apples and slather the inside of the top bun with the barbecue sauce and serve with lots of napkins