Grillin’ and Chillin’

Spring time is here! That also means that one of my favorite seasons is right around the corner…grill season! For this months First Friday Food Pairing we’re jazzing up a classic, the burger. There’s something delicious and comforting about pairing a freshly grilled burger and a crisp, refreshing beer together. This recipe goes well with sunshine, music, and friends so pre-heat the grill and get ready to cook!

The burger recipe we’re pairing with comes courtesy of my good friend, fellow beer aficionado and super talented chef, Vince Rowan out of Boston, Massachusetts. If you’re ever visiting Boston (Somerville to be specific) stop by Pennypackers where he’ll whip you up some of the best porchetta you’ve ever had in your life. We recently worked on this pairing together and think its the perfect summertime companion. It’s a little bit more complicated than your typical burger but we promise that it’s worth it. If you want to be the coolest kid at the summer BBQ read on!

The Pairing

The burger we’re working with is all about the toppings. Our hand made patty is topped with an onion bacon jam and banana ketchup (along with whatever other traditional burger toppings you want to add). The bacon jam adds a sweet, salty and savory aspect while the banana ketchup adds a rich and creamy banana flavor with some acidity and a nice jalapeno kick to finish. This pairs perfectly with our Om Namah Pilsner which is light, crisp, effervescent and refreshing. The burger is fairly heavy and rich in fat forward flavors (umami, bacon, banana) and the Pilsner helps cut through all of this, reset your palate for another bite while not filling you up.

The Recipe

The banana ketchup and bacon jam recipe below should make enough for 10-12 burgers. The burger recipe makes enough for 3 so scale it up depending on how many mouths you have to feed.

Burger Recipe

1 Lb. Ground Beef (preferably 80/20)

½ cup Bread Crumbs

1 Egg

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

1 clove Garlic, minced

½ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your hands until well combined.  Form the meat in to three patties, make a small indent in the middle of the patty to ensure that the burger doesn’t become too thick in the middle.

Banana Ketchup Recipe

1 Yellow Onion, diced

2 Jalapenos, minced

3 cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Tbs. Canola Oil

¼ tsp. Allspice, ground

2 Tbs. Tomato Paste

3 Ripe Bananas, mashed into a paste

½ cup White Wine Vinegar

¼ cup Brown Sugar

¼ cup Soy Sauce

In a sauce pot, sauté the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in the canola oil over medium heat.  Once the onion has sweated and become translucent (appox. 5-8 min.) add the allspice and allow to become fragrant.  Next add the tomato paste and mix to incorporate fully.  Once the mixture is combined allow the tomato paste to cook for another minute.  Then add the bananas and mix, lower the heat to low, and after another minute add the white wine vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce.  Let the sauce cook down until it thickens to the consistency of ketchup.  Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a blender and puree (you may want to do this in batches).  Season to taste, use the white wine vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar to balance.

**Side Note – This sauce is meant to have a bit of a kick, but the sauce can be toned down with less or no jalapeno if you desire.

Onion Bacon Jam

½ Lb. Bacon, ½ in. dice

4 Sweet Onions, julienned

3 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbs. Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium high heat, render the bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside on a plate with a paper towel.  Drop the heat to very low, and add the onions to the bacon fat.  Stirring every minute or so cook the onions until they are mahogany in color and very soft (appox. 20-30 min.).  At this point add the cooked bacon, balsamic vinegar and sugar.  Mix to incorporate and remove from the heat.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  This can be served either hot or cold.

**Two side notes

– The onions will cook down dramatically so it is always better to overestimate this part of the recipe.  Trust me, you will never be mad to have extra left over!

– When julienning onions for this consistency of thickness is more important than getting them super thin.  Take your time, it will be worth it later.