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Decadent Chocolate Merlot Burger

This slightly sweet and spicy burger blends red wine, bittersweet chocolate, and hot pepper into the most luxurious burger ever!


2lb ground sirloin
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. Steakhouse Seasoning (in grinder bottle)
1 1/2 tsp. salt - plus a pinch
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup-plus 3 tbsp. Sutter Home Merlot
oil for grill
1/4 cup olive oil
2 med.-lrg red onions
4oz. bittersweet chocolate
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 Hambuger buns
6 leaves of red leaf lettuce
4 oz fresh goat cheese


In a large mixing bowl add beef, breadcrumbs, cocoa, steakhouse seasoning, salt, chives, thyme and 1/3 cup of Merlot. Mix gently so as not to compact the meat. Form into 6 patties and place on a plate, loosely covered. Let them get to room temperature before grilling. Heat gas grill to med-high. Brush grill with oil just before adding meat. Brush patties with olive oil and add to grill, cooking 5-7 min. per side. Meanwhile, slice 3-1/4" slices from the middle of each onion. Brush with olive oil and grill 1-2 min. per side. They should be somewhat soft and have some grill marks. Set aside. Chop chocolate and add to a small fireproof saucepan with the remaining 3 tbsp. Merlot. Put on side of grill, just enough to warm the chocolate. When it starts to melt, remove from heat, continue stirring until completely melted and add a pinch of cayenne and pinch of salt. When patties are on the last minute or so of cooking, add buns to grill cut side down to toast. To assemble burger, Spread both sides of buns with chocolate-wine sauce, put lettuce leaves on bottom buns, then add patties, 1 tbsp sauce, then crumble a rounded spoonful of goat cheese on top, add the grilled onions and top buns. Serve immediately.


The buns I use are Whole Foods Bakehouse, from Whole Foods. I like the softness, flavor, and the fact that they are not pre-sliced, I like the rougher cut edge. Of course if you are not near a Whole foods market you will find what works best for you.