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Grilled California Blue Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Chipotle Onions

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Serves 6 | Prep Time 40 | Cook Time 35

Why I Love This Recipe

This recipe won the "Build a Better Burger Contest" by FoodNetwork & SutterHome. Grand Prize Winner was Clint Stephenson of Friendswood, TX. I made it for my family and they all loved it. It has a lot of complexity in flavor and somehow all the ingredients seem to compliment each other.

Ingredients You'll Need

Caramelized Chipotle Onions:
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon spicy chipotle pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce)
1 tablespoon beef broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Point Reyes Blue Cheese Spread:
6 1/2 ounces light garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese
4 ounces blue cheese (recommended: Point Reyes) or other favorite blue cheese, crumbled
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1/3 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup zinfandel wine (recommended: Sutter Home Zinfandel)
3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, thyme, and basil leaves (any combination)
1 tablespoon spicy chipotle pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce)
1 1/2 teaspoons spicy seasoned salt
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
12 California avocado slices (prepare at the last minute, brushing with balsamic vinegar and sprinkling with spicy seasoned salt before grilling)
12 pre-cooked bacon slices
6 soft kaiser rolls (about 4 1/2 inches in diameter), split
Romaine lettuce leaves
6 large tomato slices, about 1/4-inch thick


In a grill with a cover, prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat cooking.

For caramelized onions, combine onion, pepper sauce, broth, vinegar, oil, garlic, and brown sugar in a 10-inch nonstick skillet with a lid. When coals are ready, place covered pan on grill rack. Cook onion mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and most of liquid is evaporated. Remove pan from grill and set aside.

For spread, combine spreadable cheese and blue cheese in a saucepan; cover and set aside.

For burgers, place ground beef in a large bowl. Add onion, Zinfandel, herbs, pepper sauce, and seasoned salt; mix gently. Shape beef mixture into 6 round patties.

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on grill rack, cover, and cook about 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until cooked to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, place saucepan with cheese spread on outer edge of grill rack to warm cheese mixture just until it reaches a very soft, spreading consistency. Remove saucepan from grill and set aside.

During final minutes of grilling patties, arrange avocado slices on a rimmed nonstick perforated grilling pan coated lightly with oil, and grill alongside patties for 1 to 2 minutes, turning as necessary. During final 30 seconds, add bacon slices to pan. When avocados are nicely grilled and bacon is crisp, remove from grill. When patties are cooked, remove from grill, stacking to keep warm. Place rolls, cut side down, on outer edges of grill to toast lightly.

To assemble burgers, spread a generous amount of cheese spread over cut sides of rolls. On the bottom of each roll layer lettuce, a tomato slice, beef patty, caramelized onions, grilled avocado, and bacon. Add top and serve.

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