The Ultimate New England Burger
2/3 cup whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 slices Applewood-Smoked Bacon, diced
2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 thick slices Vermont Cheddar Cheese
6 multi-grain hamburger buns, split
6 leaves Boston lettuce, cut to fit the size of the burger
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make Maple Mustard, combine mustard, maple syrup, and orange zest in a small bowl. Mix until well combined.
Heat a large fireproof non-stick skillet on the grill. Add bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
To make the patties, in a large bowl combine beef, cranberries, celery, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each burger with a slice of Vermont cheddar cheese and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a thin layer of maple mustard on the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a leaf of Boston lettuce, a patty topped with cheese, and equal amounts of bacon. Add the bun tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.