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Bold Beef Burger with Ghost Pepper and fig Chutney

My wife and I had a weekend getaway earlier this year in Galena, Illinois. We stumbled upon a great gourmet shop, Galena Canning Company. I have always enjoyed figs so I had to try their Fig Preserves. I am also a hot sauce fanatic and finally had a chance to try the Ghost Pepper sauce...Amazingly different from other peppers. It was only natural to marry the sweet rich flavor of the fig preserves with the hand grenade heat of the ghost pepper.


Ghost Pepper and Fig Chutney
4 Tbsp Fig preserves (needs to be sweet, I prefer Galena Canning Company’s)
2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced shallot
3 Tbsp Colivita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ Tbsp Colavita Balsamic Vinegar
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 drops Dave’s Gourmet- Ghost Pepper Sauce

2 1/4 lb fresh Ground 80% Chuck
1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
2 Tbsp Fennel Seed
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Fresh Oregano

2 Tbsp Olive Oil for grill grates
6 Fresh Kaiser Rolls
2 Tbsp sweet cream butter
6 Thick slices Very Sharp Cheddar
1 large Beefsteak tomato
1 Red Onion
6 leaves fresh Romain Lettuce
3/8 tsp (1/16 tsp or a dash per tomato slice) Kosher Salt
3/8 tsp (1/16 tsp or a dash per tomato slice) Ground Black Pepper


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with cover, or preheat your gas grill to medium high.
To make the Ghost Pepper and Fig Chutney- In small mixing bowl add Fig Preserves, garlic, shallot, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Salt, Black Pepper and then Ghost Pepper Sauce (CAUTION: this product is EXTREMELY dangerous if mishandled, gloves are recommended). Mix together thoroughly and set aside.

To make the Patties - In a large mixing bowl, place Fresh Ground Chuck. In order to mix spices thoroughly and evenly throughout the meat, I like to make a "Slurry" by mixing the spices into the wine. In a separate small mixing bowl, add the Zinfandel. Grind Fennel Seed & Black Pepper (I use a coffee grinder, you can also use a mortar & pestle but it must be a fine powder) add to the Zinfandel. Add Salt to Zinfandel. Finally, mince Oregano and add to Zinfandel. Use a small whisk and mix slurry completely, pour evenly over Ground Chuck. Gently, by hand, mix meat and slurry together. Form into 6 equal patties, DO NOT overwork the patties, place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator.
About 10 minutes before you want to grill, remove platter from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap. With the grill being preheated to med-high, wipe down the grates with Olive Oil (I roll up a washcloth and use grill tongs). Take each roll, slice in half and spread equal amounts of butter to top and bottom, have ready to go on grill.
Place each pattie on the grill and close lid. Wait two minutes and ¼ turn each pattie and close lid. After another two minutes, flip and close lid. After another two minutes and ¼ turn each pattie and close lid. After the final two minutes, add Cheddar. Now you can place the rolls, face down, to the upper rack of the grill and close lid. When Cheddar melts, remove patties to platter to rest. Once rolls toast, remove from grill.

While Patties are resting slice the Tomato into ¼" slices and Red Onion into 1/8" slices. Rinse the Romaine leaves and tear in half.
Once the patties have had a solid 7-8 minutes to rest, place one pattie on each bottom half on roll. Spread 2 Tbsp of chutney over each pattie. Add a slice of red onion. Add a slice of tomato, then salt and black pepper. Add ½ a leaf of Romaine to each burger and cover with top of roll.


This burger is not for sissys, nor is it too much for someone that just wants to broaden their tastes. The Ghost pepper is diiferent from others. Jalapenos, habeneros, etc heat where they touch in your mouth. The Ghost Pepper is a slightly delayed explosion of heat. The sweetness of the preserves cuts the heat down to a managable flavor.