Red. White. Blue. Independence Burgers – an ode to America’s Birthday & my 2nd home – the resplendent north of Michigan’s Cherry & Wine country, one of the most wildly beautiful destinations on God’s Green Earth – from rolling vinyards & farms of the old mission peninsulas stretching into Great Lake Michigan, the friendly faces residing in Mayberry-like lakeside towns such Empire, Glen Arbor, Traverse City & Petosky, onward along the awe-inspiring coastlines of Lake Superior’s Pictured Rocks, and deep into the backwoods camping adventures at the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Pure Michigan. A destination. An inspiration like no other.
Follow along below as I venture through one of my very favorite backyard barbeque recipes & share a few snippets from a recent hiking trip through the farthest reaches of Northern Michigan with 4 of my best, mostly bearded & adventurous friends.
This recipe is surely reflective of that piece of home – Fresh, bright, rustic, big & bold flavors, imparted with sultry hardwoods & served alongside ice cold root beers & craft-brewed IPAs. This burger is formed of fresh ground & locally harvested venison, brisket & short rib. Then gently rolled into thick burger patties – loaded with a bounty of Traverse City sweet cherries, crumbled Amish blue cheese, sweet shallots, roasted garlic, toasted black walnuts, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, Worcestershire, kosher salt & coarsely ground peppercorn.
This mouthwatering medium-rare burger is flame seared to carbonized perfection over a bed of smoldering cherry wood, then laid to rest upon a bed of crisp sweet greens, heirloom tomatoes, topped with caramelized red onions & cherries. To finish this American masterpiece – a freshly baked & lightly buttered black sesame seed kaiser bun.
Cheers to beers. Happy Birthday, America. And, long live the adventure! -David, A Bachelor & His Grill
Northern Michigan Sweet Cherry & Amish Blue Cheese Burgers
- 1 pound fresh ground venison or sirloin
- 1/2 pound fresh ground short rib
- 1/2 pound fresh ground brisket
- 1/4 cup canola oil plus additional for basting
- 3-4 small shallots finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sweet cherries pitted, chopped and drained
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg plus 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup dry roasted salted black walnuts chopped
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn
- Fresh leaves of fraise to garnish
- Heirloom tomatoes sliced, to garnish
- A Bachelor & His Grill's Caramelized Balsamic Cherries & Red Onions, to garnish
- Sesame seed kaiser rolls sliced
- In sauté pan over high heat bring 1 tablespoon oil to gentle simmer, then add onion & garlic, sautéing until onion translucent & garlic fragrant. Remove from heat. Combine ground meat, sautéed onion, garlic, and all other ingredients, except garnish. Cover with plastic & place in refrigerator for 1 hour, allowing flavors to meld. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes prior to grilling, returning meat near room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare "A Bachelor & His Grill's, Caramelized Balsamic Cherries & Red Onions," recipe below. Set aside.
- Preheat grill using 2-zone grilling technique in notes section below.
- Meanwhile, loosely form 1.5-2inch thick burger patties. Impress a ½ inch dimple into patty center, then lightly brush the patties with oil, then season liberally with salt & pepper.
- Lay burgers over the searing grates of direct heat zone. With grill lid open, sear burgers 3-4 minutes. Flip, baste with oil and grill second side of burgers over the indirect cooler grates, with grill lid closed, for 2-4 minutes (medium rare), 6 minutes (medium), or 8 Minutes (medium well).
- In final minutes of grilling set buttered kaiser buns over grill grates to toast.
- Remove burgers & buns from grill. Set buns aside. Rest burger under tin foil tent for 5-7 minutes.
- Pour ice cold root beers or golden, craft-brewed IPA beers. Talk about man-types of things. Like pushups, fireworks, 8cylinder engines & why the Tigers will win the World Series.
- Season burgers additionally to taste, then lay over toasted & buttered buns, dress with fresh greens, tomatoes & caramelized balsamic cherries & onions. Serve with an ice cold root beer or golden craft-brewed IPA. Cheers!
1-burner grill – Turn the grill to high, then leverage the warming shelf, lined with tin foil, removing the meat from direct contact with the grill grates.
2-burner grill – Turn right side of the grill to high & leave the left side off.
3-burner grill – Turn far right side of the grill to high, the middle to low-medium and the left side off.
4-burner grill – Turn far right side of grill to high, middle right to medium, middle left to low, & leave the far left zone off. Charcoal: Ignite the charcoal in a chimney starter. When coals are glowing red, dump coals onto the grill floor. Rake coals, pushing ⅔ to one side of the grill, slanting the remaining coals to the opposite side of the grill, establishing high-piled 1 hot zone & 1 cooler zone. For every hour of cooking, add a half-stack of coals.
Caramelized Balsamic Cherries & Red Onions
- 2 medium red onions sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup cherries pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- /12 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 level teaspoon butter
- 1 pinch cayenne
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper taste
- In heavy bottom pan over medium heat, bring 2 tablespoons oil to gentle simmer. Toss in onion, garlic, then cover & sauté 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Turn down heat to low-medium, add cherries, water, sugar, cayenne, salt & pepper. Cover pan, cooking for 20 minutes, stirring intermittently, or until water absorbed. Remove cover, turn heat back up to high & add vinegar, stirring until all liquid absorbed. Remove from heat, discard rosemary sprigs, fold in butter, season to taste & serve.
For more grill master tips, burger best practices, 5-star recommendations, an assorted collection of my favorite gourmet burg recipes, & an incremental smidgen of culinary debauchery… Click the following link for the undisputed, most delectable post ever written on, A Bachelor & His Grill – “The BEST Burger Blog Post of ALL-TIME.”