Wisconsin’s Best Butter Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Door County Cherry Relish
My home state of Wisconsin claims to be the Home of the Butter Burger.Whether or not that’s true, I cannot say. What I can say is that you will love MY butter burger. Stuffed with a mixture of butter and herbed cheese and smothered with a layer of rich, buttery caramelized onions, it is a decadent delight. And to keep your taste buds in balance, I have added a sweet-tart cherry relish, using the fabulous dried tart cherries grown right here in Door County. You don’t need to be a Cheesehead to enjoy these burgers!
4 ounces Boursin cheese (or other spreadable garlic and herb cheese)
3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1 TBSP olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 extra large sweet onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup chicken broth
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
½ cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP Lea & Perrin Worcestershire Sauce
2 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
1 TBSP steak seasoning (I like Kirkland’s Signature Steak Seasoning from Costco; but your favorite brand is fine)
2 pounds ground chuck
vegetable oil for grill grates
6 top-quality hamburger buns, split (not too hard or chewy)
6 large green-leaf lettuce leaves
Preheat gas grill to medium heat.
Mash together cheese and 3 TBSP butter in a small bowl. Place on plastic wrap and form into a thick, 4½ inch log. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill while preparing onions and relish.
Melt butter in oil, in a heavy, large, fire-proof skillet, on the grill. Add pancetta, cover with grill lid and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Add onions, sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and cook, with the grill cover down, until nicely caramelized, about 15 minutes; stirring frequently. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. pepper.
Meanwhile, in a small, fire-proof saucepan, stir together cherries, wine, balsamic, bay leaf and 1 TBSP thyme. Place on grill, alongside onions, cover grill and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid has reduced to a glaze. Remove from heat and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. each sea salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, whisk together Worcestershire, 2 TBSP thyme, and steak seasoning. Gently but thoroughly mix in ground chuck. Form mixture into 6 balls.
Divide butter mixture into 6 equal disks. Stuff a butter disk into the center of each meatball and form the meat into a patty to fit the buns, keeping the butter disk fully enclosed in the meat.
Grill patties until done to preference, about 5 minutes per side for medium. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast. Remove burgers and buns from grill.
To assemble burgers, arrange lettuce atop bottom buns, top with a burger, the caramelized onions, the cherry relish and the bun tops. Serve.