Variations of the Traditional Burger - Happy Fourth!

Burgers don't need to mean beef. Check out these three recipes for building a better burger and my picks for wine pairings. Happy Fourth of July!

A special thanks to Canvas Home for providing plates and cooking tools.

Tuna Burger with Ginger Mayo and Carrot Slaw
Serves 4

2 inches ginger, peeled and divided
1 clove garlic
1 Thai chili, seeds removed
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoon basil, divided
2 tablespoon cilantro, divided
1 lb. sushi grade tuna, cut into large cubes
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

In a food processor combine ginger, garlic, chili, sugar, fish sauce and herbs until fully combined. Add tuna and pulse until just finely ground. Shape into patties and set chill for at least 30 minutes.

To make mayo grate remaining 1 tablespoon ginger on a microplane and combine with mayo. Finely chop remaining tablespoons of basil and cilantro and stir into the mayo with lemon juice. Toss with shredded carrots.

Heat grill on medium high setting and brush grill with vegetable oil. Grill burgers for 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Serve with toasted buns and slaw.

Wine Pairing: 2013 J. Lohr Gesture Viognier
Paso Robles/Monterery County wine. 100% viognier. Bright pale straw color with aromas of peach, lychee and orange blossom. Crisp and acidic. Great with spicy dishes and lighter seafood.

Spanish Pork Burgers
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup Spanish olives, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pinch saffron
Zest of 1 lemon 
3/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 lb. ground pork sausage
1 jar Piquillo peppers, thinly sliced
1 bunch chives

In a medium pan heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and sauté onion until translucent. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, olives, garlic, paprika, saffron and lemon zest until just warm and combined.

Season pork with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and combine with onion mixture. Form into patties and set aside.

Combine piquillo peppers and chives with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil.

Heat grill to medium high and brush with olive oil. Sear burgers for 4-5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

 Serve with buns and piquillo topping.

Wine Pairing: 2013 Halter Ranch Rose
Grenache blend reminiscent of the rose from southern Rhone with aromas of wild strawberry and guava. Refreshing and easy to drink, perfect with grilled meats and solo.

Bison Burgers with Zin-Siracha Sauce
Serves 4

1 lb. ground bison
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
8 oz. sharp white cheddar

Jojo’s Sriracha Ravenswood Zinfandel Chili Sauce

Combine bison, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and shallot. Form patties. Season again with salt.

Heat a grill to medium high heat and brush with vegetable oil. Sear on each side for 2-3, flip and top with cheese, cover and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes for medium rare.

Dress bun with Jojo’s Sriracha Ravenswood Zinfandel Chili Sauce.

Wine Pairing: 2012 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel
Bright and complex with full mouth-feel. Pairs well with grill meats, spicy lamb and burgers.