After a busy week, nothing beats a tender, juicy burger, hot off the grill. Except, maybe, this fresh and delicious take on the American classic, made with ground duck meat, red wine caramelized onions, blue cheese sauce and a Brussels sprouts slaw.
Part of what makes this burger so uniquely delicious is how it’s cooked — which, by the way, isn’t on a grill at all. Instead, this recipe calls for cast-iron cooking.
It starts with the onions, which are caramelized over medium-high heat in a mixture of unsalted butter and red wine. I recommend using a cabernet, which is known for its savory, dark-fruit flavor. Foods with a high fat content pair best with a cabernet sauvignon, so don’t worry about trimming your duck thighs prior to grinding.
Once your onions are soft and seasoned, it’s time to fry up your duck burgers. This is one of the benefits to cooking in a cast-iron skillet, as opposed to the grill. Rather than losing all those delicious juices to the coals, your freshly ground and seasoned patties will continue to marinate in the pan, even as the meat is cooking.
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for pancetta as well as duck meat. You may be wondering if it’s alright to leave that out, but we recommend you don’t. Pancetta is a seasoned, salt-cured meat made from pork belly. And as such, it adds a spectacular salty-sweet flavor to the ground duck. Plus, the pancetta also increases the fat content of the meat, which, as you might recall, pairs particularly well with those cabernet-caramelized onions.
If you’re struggling to find pancetta at your local grocery store, you can substitute it with an equal helping of bacon, depending on how rare or well-done you like your burgers.
The FDA recommends cooking duck meat to an internal temperature of 160-170 degrees. Some cooks prefer a bit more pink, around 135-140 degrees. If that’s you, stick with the pancetta, which may be eaten uncooked. Bacon, on the other hand, must be fully cooked to avoid food-borne illnesses, so patties should be cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Serve this gorgeous burger with a side of roasted potato wedges and mixed greens, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. And don’t let the rest of that cabernet go to waste — this is one Friday night dish that deserves a toast.
To get this Kick Ass Recipe for the Ultimate Duck Burger head on over to Slayer Calls!