12 Seasoned Derby Burger Patties
2 cups Kentucky bourbon
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, cored
12 strips thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 packages King’s Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Buns, split
8 ounces Brie cheese, rind partially removed, sliced
2012 Derby Burger Challenge Winning Recipe
Sponsored by the Kentucky Beef Council
Created by Richard Glidden, Bardstown, KY
This burger incorporates everything that the Derby City has to offer. Our rich agriculture, our firmly planted French roots, and of course, good Kentucky bourbon. Also, it’s an absolute plethora of flavors, combining salty, smoky, sweet and tangy. The creaminess of the brie mixed with the sweetness of the pears infused with the flavor of the bourbon compliments the salti-ness of the bacon and the meatiness of the beef so well. This is one of the few burgers that you’ll shove aside all condiments because it IS the entire package.
Combine bourbon, sugar, and water in small sauce pan. Place over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; place pears in saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove pears to freezer-safe bowl. Freeze until ready to use.
Cook bacon, as desired, until crisp, reserving 3 ta-blespoons bacon drippings. Set aside.
Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 7 to 9 minutes) until in-stant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into cen-ter registers 160°F, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine butter, reserved bacon drip-pings and honey in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH until butter is just melted, stirring to combine ingredients. Brush cut-side of buns with honey mixture and place cut-side down on grill, careful not to burn the buns, until golden brown.
Remove pears from freezer; thinly slice.
To assemble, place burger on bun bottom; evenly top with bacon, pears and cheese. Close sandwiches; re-turn to grill for one to two minutes or just until brie melts over the pears and bacon.
Makes 12 burgers