Well, I guess I have been neglecting my site. It’s been a crazy summer so far and I’m not in the habit of posting. So here goes. I guess my better half has been telling people about something I came up with about a year ago: Michigan Burgers. They are a Michigan twist on the common burger. When people think of Michigan, they think cars. No, I’m not putting motor oil in the burger (might give a nice, earthy flavor . . . I keed, I keed), but something else Northern Michigan is known for: cherries. They blend well with the meat and feta cheese I put in them. The feta gives a great flavor without completely melting away. The salt from the feta meshes well with sweetness of the dried cherries and gives a nice balance of flavors. I also add some spices and Worcestershire sauce.
1.5 lbs of ground beef (I like sirloin or round, but any will do)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
10 dried cherries roughly chopped
2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp paprica
3 dashes of celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
Add the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mesh. Form 6 1/4 pound patties (thin but not paper thin, 1/2 inch or so). Turn the grill on high and close to heat. After the grill has heated, place the patties on the grill, cover and turn the heat down to medium. Let cook for 3-5 minutes (cooking times vary from grill to grill) and flip. Cover again for 3-5 and measure the temp. For medium rare, take off the grill at 130-140 degrees internal temp. Let sit for a couple of minutes before you place the meat on a bun (this allows the juices to stay in the meat). Any bun will do (sesame, onion roll, wheat). I garnish the burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone cheese, mayo and, believe it or not, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. No, really, it’s good. The sweetness of the BBQ sauce compliments the creamy tang of the mayo. For those not brave enough for that tasty treat, (i.e. my family), I have made a sauce to put on it. Mix 1/3 cup sour cream with 2 tbs of mayo, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tbs of lemon juice and celery salt to taste (1/2 tsp). Experiment with spices to find the flavor you like. You can also use the traditional ketchup, mustard, and mayo if you choose
Any traditional burger side, like fries, will work, but I like fruit with it as well. A great dessert with this is grilled pineapple. Just take sliced pineapple rings and grill them on medium until you get the grill marks (about 4 minutes) and flip. Be careful, the sugars in the pineapple will burn easy so watch closely. For a wine pairing, try lighter red like a nice Chianti. Old Peninsula Cellars Cabernet Franc would be excellent as well, but I have only found that at the winery in Traverse City so it’s a little hard to come by. This meal also screams for a tasty summer beer. If you want a good summer brew from Michigan, try a Bell’s Oberon Ale with the Michigan Burgers. If you can’t find Oberon where you live, Sam Adams Summer Ale is a very good substitute. The citrus of those beers tastes so good on a hot summer day with the cherries in meal. Enjoy!