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Challenge: TODAY Burger Battle

Defend The Den Burger

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1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pico de gallo or salsa
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in half (8 pieces)

Peanut or canola oil (for frying)
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices and separated into rings
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 cup panko bread crumbs


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 slices cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns, split
3/4 cup shredded lettuce
8 dill pickle slices
4 slices tomato
2 tablespoons hot sauce


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

For the zesty sauce, add the sour cream, pico de gallo and horseradish to a small bowl and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate until assembly.

Place the bacon on a slotted pan or parchment lined pan and cook in oven for 17-20 minutes, or until crispy. Lay bacon on paper towels to drain.
For the onion poppers, add the oil to a deep, heavy pot 2-3 inches deep. Heat oil to 360-375 degrees. Take 4 onion slices and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, shredded cheese, jalapenos and garlic. Then add equal portions of the cream cheese mixture to the inside of the onion slices, set aside. Whisk together the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Then in another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream and dill. Place the panko bread crumbs in a separate bowl. One at a time, dredge the onion poppers in the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, then the panko. Carefully add them to the hot oil, making sure they do not clump together. Fry for 3-4 minutes, turning as needed until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over rings while hot.
For the patties, preheat a grill or cast-iron grill pan to medium high heat. Gently mix the chuck, soy, cumin and pepper together and form the meat into 4 equal patties that are slightly larger in circumference than the bun, then depress the centers for even cooking. Cook for 10-12 minutes for medium, turning only once. Add 2 bacon strips and a slice of cheese to each patty during the last two minutes of cooking, making sure it is thoroughly melted. Place the buns, cut side down, during the last minute of cooking.
To assemble the burgers, add zesty sauce to all cut sides of buns. Add shredded lettuce to each bun bottom, pickle chips and then a tomato slice followed by a patty. Next, add an onion popper then drizzle some hot sauce over the onion ring. Add the bun tops and enjoy!

Here's my Defend The Den Burger that I did for the Rachael Ray Show. Rachael picked 32 foodies to represent their NFL team and make a game day dish. It features my signature "onion popper", which is a half onion ring - half jalapeño popper. YUM! Here's an article that our local paper did on the appearance.

Gina Ferwerda to appear on the Rachael Ray Show for "Fantasy Foodball"

Defend The Den Blog Post

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