Wednesday, August 6, 2014

There is nothing like a great BBQ American Burger and a glass of big red California Zinfandel!

I like all kinds of burgers beef, pork, turkey, lamb, fish and falafel(veggie burgers are awesome)...

 All go great with wine!

But, to me there is nothing like a great grilled American Burger and a glass of big red California Zinfandel.

Surely BBQ goes great with a lot of varietals such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or a juicy Barbera. But, there's something about the lively cherry and that bramble! The Blackberry, even Raspberry character...Which is what a lot of California Cabernet has as well, It has spice  and some volcanic smokiness. There can be a lot of heat too because of the alcohol as well. For BBQ's its a Zin that says "Drink me"!

This is the rule I go by in BBQ. Go 'Power with Power' which means the spice in your burger can go with the spice in your wine. Unless you want to go way on the other end of the scale with a very acidic wine. That's why weirdly enough sometimes a Sancerre wine or an Italian Barbera does the trick. Just think...Why does Port wine go so well with Blue cheese?... Same thing!

I digress...Now by American Burger I mean ground chuck, Worcestershire sauce, plenty of garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper American cheese(optional). It can be Wisconsin cheddar… and of course buns…and any garnishes or condiments that you like.

OK, in searching for balance with wine, chuck works best with a burger because it has a good fat vs lean ratio. You need around 20-25% fat on your meat or you may end up with a dry burger…unless you prefer it that way.

Light your charcoal to preheat and let the coals burn down to a medium hot temperature.

Make sure your grill surface is hot and oil to take advantage of the sealing in the flavors and get some of that grill mark taste.  Cook the burgers 3-4 minutes on each side depending on your level of doneness. Put it on your bun, garnish it and enjoy!

Remember these things…

Don’t push down on the burgers, you will squeeze out the juices and lose flavor. Sometimes you see your neighborhood burger guy do it. They do it for speed nothing else. You are trading off flavor for speed of getting your burger quicker.

The FDA says to 160 degrees; but if you like mediun rare it’s around 145 to 150 degrees. You need to decide what you like and your level of risk of course.

A big Juicy Zinfandel such as a Cline Ancient Vines, Ridge Three Valleys(a lot of choices in Ridge wines), Ravenswood Lodi (same here), The Rancho Zabaco’s Heritage too…just to name a few. Oh and the Sancerre (white!!!), try one from Kermit Lynch, the acidity will cut through the fat of the burger and bring out the fruit in the wine.

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