Going South Means Bourbon Burgers
Every Thursday night, when we are in town, we have a running date night at Constant Spring, our local pub. Though we never really dated before getting married, we are now catching up for lost time! ( Watch for my story about this coming soon.) It's nice to have that one on one time without being interrupted by phone calls, pets or other distractions. We usually try to have a topic of conversation; some nights, we are better at it than others. We have made numerous decisions during those short hours. We try to intensely discuss whatever pressing issue is in front of us and we usually come up with hopeful and creative solutions. I suppose the mug of beer we both drink helps in some way, and the popcorn. Sometimes we do order food to go with the beer. The last time that happened, Jim asked for the Bourbon Burger on the menu and found it quite satisfying, which prompted me to look up some recipes and reproduce my version several weeks later.
As we packed for our trip to Tennessee, I remembered that we still had two buns and two Bourbon burgers that I had made in the freezer. So I grabbed them and, in the back of my mind, I thought that I could easily find some Bourbon for the sauce down Tennessee way. On our second day there, we stopped at a liquor store in Dunlap. I asked the friendly clerk for a local bourbon recommendation. She tucked her blue hair behind her double pierced ear, got off her stool and came over. "Here, it's Tennessee whiskey," she said. "So what do people around here buy," I asked. "George Dickel," she replied immediately with a southern twang. "O.K. That's what I will get!" I said as I grabbed a bottle off of the shelf.
When we got back to the cabin, I pulled out all the ingredients we needed and got to work.
First, I sliced an onion in thin rings and caramelized them in some olive oil. While they browned, I mixed up the Bourbon sauce.
3 T. George Dickel whisky
2 T. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
dash of salt
Mix in a pan and cook until it comes to a boil.
Then I fried a couple of slices of really good bacon. (I got it at the farmers' market.) And put them on a paper towel to cool and drain.
I poured most of the bacon fat out and used the same pan to fry the Bourbon burgers.
For a 1/2 lb. of good quality ground beef (yes, I also got this at the farmers' market!), I mix in:
1 1/2 T. George Dickel whisky
1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. ground cumin
Then I shape the mixture into two flat patties. Time to fry them. Once they had browned nicely on both sides, I added a couple of slices of sharp Cheddar on their tops until just melted. Meanwhile, the onions are caramelized and I added 2 or 3 T. George Dickel whisky to them and let them sizzle in the whisky with a lid on the pan.
Time to assemble everything. Split two buns. Coat each side with the sauce. Place the burgers on the bottom half of the bun. Top with bacon and caramelized onions. And cover with the top half of the bun. Enjoy!