This year, I'm so excited to be a part of Burger Month, hosted by Kita Roberts (@girlcarnivore). Anyone who knows me IRL, knows I am a cheeseburger girl. Like, given the choice of a final meal on death row, I would definitely have a cheeseburger and fries and probably a milkshake...but I digress. Kita has put together a group of awesome food bloggers, chefs, photographers, etc who all love burgers as much as I do and to celebrate May being National Burger Month, we are sharing photos and recipes all month long. So get your grill heating up, because there is lots of cookout inspiration heading your way!
Now, here in Western North Carolina, we are blessed with a huge variety of fruits, vegetables and some truly ingenious artisan products. Since, I absolutely love using local food and products as much as possible, I decided to dream up the perfect Appalachia Burger to represent for my hometown. To start, we need ground beef and pork from Hickory Nut Gap Farms in Fairview, NC. Plus throw in a little bacon, because bacon, duh! Add in some fried locally foraged ramps and sweeten it all with a little homemade Cheerwine BBQ sauce. Now, if I could have dairy, I'd definitely have a big hunk of cheese from one of our many local cheesemongers, but I topped mine off with some vegan cheese from Follow Your Heart (I know it's a bit hypocritical to pop vegan cheese on a three meat burger, but I am an unabashedly proud carnivore). And last but not least, a delicious gluten-free bun from Schaer
Without further ado, the recipe:
For the BBQ Sauce (adapted from the Charlotte Observer)
1 Tbsp Vegan Butter
1/4 C Onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 C Ketchup
1 C Cheerwine
1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Mustard
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add onions. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add in the ketchup, Cheerwine, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, black pepper, mustard and vinegar. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
While your sauce is simmering away, prepare your burger patties.
For the Burgers -
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (15% Fat)
1/2 lb Ground Pork (20% Fat), you can also use breakfast sausage here
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Bacon (2-3 slices per burger)
Ramps Bulbs thinly sliced (about 1/4 C per burger)
Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl and squish together with your hands until it is well mixed. Portion out the meat into patties - I feel like you can make 4-6 nice thick patties, but size them how you like. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook.
Cook some bacon!! I like 2-3 slices per burger. So depending on how many you're feeding, prepare enough bacon accordingly. Once the bacon is done, place it onto a paper towel lined plate. Pour of the bacon grease, but don't clean the pan. Put the pan back on medium heat and throw the ramps into the leftover grease. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, until crispy, stir frequently.
While your bacon and ramps are cooking, you should be grilling your burgers. Serve everything as soon as it's ready.
Build the burger to your liking and ENJOY!!