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Hickory Sweet Apple Burger

I have actually submitted this recipe once before, and then abandoned it for several years. I tried again, modifying some ingredients and flavors, and I think it's a good burger.


For burger:
1 ½ # ground sirloin
½ # mild Italian sausage, removed from casing
¾ c. light brown sugar
1 packet onion soup mix, crushed in pouch
½ c. maple syrup
3/4 c. finely diced Red Delicious apples
3 tsp. Fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. Fresh ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. Hickory flavor Liquid Smoke
3 tbsp. Sutter Home Merlot
For Caramelized Relish:
3 tbsp. Unsalted butter
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 med. Yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
¼ c. light brown sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. Fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. Merlot
6 ciabatta-style rolls, split
1 c. mayonnaise


Prepare charcoal grill with medium high heat, and a cooler low heat area. In large bowl, mix together sirloin, sausage, ¾ c. brown sugar, onion soup mix, maple syrup, diced apples, 3 tsp. pepper, nutmeg, 1 tbsp. salt, liquid smoke, and 3 tbsp. Merlot. Cover and let sit for 1 hour, refrigerated. In small cast-iron pan placed on medium heat area of grill, combine butter, olive oil, onions, sliced apples, ¼ c. brown sugar, ¼ tsp. Salt, and ¾ tsp. Pepper. Cook until onions and apples are caramelized and very soft, about 30 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. Merlot to finish. Set aside on cool part of grill grate. Form meat mix into 6 patties. Place on Highest heat area of grill, and sear for about 4 minutes. Flip, and move to med. high heat. Cover grill; continue to cook for 10 minutes for medium. Move to platter when done to rest. Place rolls, cut side down, onto hot grill area, and toast lightly to get nice grill marks. Place on platter. Smear each cut side of rolls with mayonnaise. Top bottoms with a patty, and top with the reserved onion/apple relish. Place bun tops on, and serve hot.


In a perfect world, this burger would be topped with hickory bacon also, but it's one of the ingredients I had to chop for your requirement. I think it's a winner regardless (I shall make it with bacon at home!).