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Surf & Turf Burger with a Bit `o’ Basil Butter

Just thinking about this Surf & Turf Burger makes me very hungry and happy, and the only way to see me happier is when I’m cooking this one up for family and friends. My Surf & Turf burger is perfect when enjoyed with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.… This recipe is enhanced with a Bit `o’ Basil Butter, which not only is inside the burger (to keep the sirloin so very moist and flavorful, along with the mushrooms and garlic), but also smothers the grilled lobster topping as the burger is just taken off the grill. You might need a bib to eat this special burger, but please try to enjoy each and every savory drop.


¾ C unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ tsp dried tarragon
3 limes
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc (ok, only ¾ C is needed for the recipe, as the chef may need at least a glass)
1 lb lobster tail
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 large portabella mushroom, finely chopped to yield 1 ½ C
1 bunch fresh spinach leaves
8 oz goat cheese, chilled
1 large ripe Haas avocado
6 Kaiser buns, split


Bit `o’ Basil Butter (BBB): Soften the butter, and to it combine in the garlic, fresh basil, tarragon, juice from ½ a lime, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp fresh ground pepper, and 1/4 C Sauvignon Blanc. Place this mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and mold into a log about 1” round. Tightly surround the log with plastic wrap and place into a freezer to set (at least 20 minutes). Turf, Lobster prep: Remove lobster meat from the tail; slice the meat on the diagonal (along its length) into 12 equal pieces, and arrange into a shallow dish. Cover the lobster slices with the zest of 1 lime, and add ¼ C Sauvignon Blanc and juice from ½ lime over all the slices. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of olive oil, over the lobster, and dust with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. Surf Burger Mixture: To the ground sirloin add the chopped mushrooms, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp fresh ground pepper and ½ of the chopped/crumpled BBB log. Mix, avoiding overworking, then divide into 6 equal portions to form 5” patties. Drizzle the patties on both sides with 3 Tbsp of olive oil and place onto a flat platter. Dust with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and add ¼ C Sauvignon Blanc. Cover and refrigerate. Grill Prep Time: Ready your wood grill with mesquite charcoal to achieve a medium-hot, ash covered coal. 15 minutes prior to the grill being ready, remove the patties and the lobster from the refrigerator. Wash the spinach, remove the stems, and julienne the leaves. Slice the chilled goat cheese into 12 pieces and cut 1 lime into 6 wedges. Cut 1 avocado in half, and then lengthwise into 12 slices. Cut ½ of the remaining BBB log into 6 pieces. Cover and refrigerate all just cut items until final burger building. Melt the remaining BBB, brush each side of the split Kaiser buns, and set aside. Grilling: Over the readied coals place lobster pieces on the grill (preferably in a grill pan with holes (to avoid any lobster losses) to cook for no more than 1 minute, uncovered. Flip and drizzle with remaining marinade, cooking for no more than an additional 1 - 1 ½ minutes. Remove to a clean plate and cover with foil. Place burgers on the grill. Drizzle with remaining marinade as they cook and flip after 4-5 minutes. Place 2 slices of the goat cheese on each burger and continue to cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Top with 2 pieces of the grilled lobster, cover the grill, and cook for 2-3 additional minutes for medium burgers… be prepared with a water mist (water spray) to tame any flare-ups and/or move the burgers from being over the direct heat as these burgers are finished off. Remove the burgers to a fresh platter and top each with a slice of BBB. Place the split buns which have been buttered with the BBB onto the grill, buttered side down, for about 1 minute to lightly warm/toast. Assemble burgers onto the serving plate by placing the grilled Surf & Turf Burger on a toasted Kaiser bun bottom. Cover the inside of a top bun with a small pile of the julienned spinach and two slices of avocado, and finish by squeezing a lime wedge over the top, close and serve immediately. Serves 6.


1) Should flare-ups occur before or after burgers are flipped the fire may need to be tamed with a water sprayer (or a bit of beer) or burgers may need to be moved away from the direct flame/heat. This will very from fire to fire and grill to grill (also effects final grill time to desired doneness) but the butter does melt so the griller’s attention to the cooking is required. 2) As the burgers are drizzled with olive oil I don‘t find that I need to brush the grill rack with oil, but this is up to the individual griller‘s style. 3) This is a ground sirloin version of my home ground fillet mignon surf & turf entry.