Gastropub-inspired elegant burger perfect for a classy cookout!
Guaranteed this Cab and Blue Burger will be the most decadently elegant burger you’ve ever had. It’s loaded with cheese, four kinds to be precise. It’s topped with Cabernet caramelized onions and wrapped in bacon! And, it’s perfectly paired with CK Mondavi and Family Wines. A great choice for Easy Entertaining during your next cookout. Get ready for foodie nirvana!
This recipe was created as part of my collaboration with CK Mondavi and Family. As a CK Mondavi Ambassador, it has been an awesome experience creating recipes to pair with their California wines. They are well-balanced, easy to drink, accessible wines with high value and quality. Perfect for easy entertaining a crowd and enjoying at any time, including your summer parties and cookouts. The recipe is my own creation and all opinions are my own. As always, I only work with brands I love and recommend to inspire you to go #MakeSomedayHappen.
A decadent burger and a rich Cabernet Sauvignon are bound to make your next cookout a classy affair. You’ll feel like you’re at your favorite neighborhood gastropub but in the comfort of home.
The Gastropub Phenomenon.
Gastropub burgers are a thing of beauty! High quality, ultra beefy, thick patties topped with elevated ingredients like Roquefort and Gruyere, bacon jam, or tomato confit. Not your typical backyard fare, they fuel Instagram posts and make every foodie swoon. These burgers are just as refined as dining on a prime steak. Pair with a bottle of rich red wine and you have a menu sure to impress even the most hipster of your friends.
What exactly is a gastropub?
Let’s travel to 1991 Clerkenwell, London. This is when the term “gastropub” was coined by David Eyre and Mike Belben, in an advertisement for The Eagle Pub. They wanted to highlight their new pub’s fantastic food. Traditionally, British pubs were known as drinking establishments with little emphasis on food.
The “gastropub” concept spread to America in the mid-90s as chefs wanted to offer their elevated cuisine at more affordable prices, in casual neighborhood eateries rather than fine dining restaurants. The word was added to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in August 2012, defined as “a pub that specializes in serving high-quality food”.
The hybrid term has its share of critics. Whichever side you fall on, there’s no denying the gastropub phenomenon changed pub culture. Neighborhood restaurants offering relaxed yet upscale, refined but unpretentious environments where the focus is on both great food and drinks have popped up everywhere since.
At a gastropub, you can expect inventive menus with a variety of culinary influences – from fish and chips to tacos, burgers to mac n’ cheese to steaks. Boutique wines, extensive craft beer selections and creative cocktails. Basically, it’s a place that dazzles you with food but doesn’t make a big fuss about it. Anything goes in a gastropub. And, gastropub burgers are a definite Must Eat.
My Gastropub Cab and Blue Burger Inspiration
The first time I skipped ketchup on a burger was at Tabor Tavern, one of my favorite gastropubs in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Instantly my burger grew up. It went from fumbling adolescence to sophisticated adulthood. The Tabor Burger is a half-pound of beefy goodness loaded with peppery arugula, blue cheese, and the most sinfully addictive bacon jam. The jam enhances the flavors of the beef rather than masking them. Rest assured, you will want it on everything. (It’s conveniently available in a jar to take home too!) Add Tabor Tavern to your “Must Eat” List in Portland!
I combined the flavors of that Tabor Burger and kicked it up a few notches. Instead of using only blue cheese, I added Gruyere, White Cheddar, and Muenster. The result is a blend of flavors and textures with lots of oozing melted cheese effect. The more cheese the better, right? These four kinds of cheese worked wonderfully but you can get creative and use your own favorites.
I played with the ratio of the cheeses too. I started with equal parts of all cheeses but found the blue cheese was overpowering the flavor of the other cheeses. I reduced the amount of blue cheese and added the slice of Muenster on top. The result is fantastic melted cheese but with the blue cheese flavor still predominant.
The Cabernet Caramelized Onions.
Since there’s no way I could properly recreate that Tabor Tavern bacon jam, I made Cabernet caramelized onions and wrapped the burger in bacon instead. It turned out to be an equally thrilling foodie nirvana. The onions are reduced down to a step away from becoming jam, giving you all the concentrated flavors with more texture. They are also fantastic on a roast beef sandwich or topping a juicy steak.
Here’s a tip: Make sure that you stir the onions occasionally. As the liquid evaporates, if the onions are starting to brown or black bits are forming on the pan too much, add a touch of water.
Gastropub Cab and Blue Burger Preparation Tips.
You can grill or use a cast-iron skillet. Whichever you love (or have access to).
The first time I made this burger, I seared the beef patties in a cast-iron skillet for about six minutes. Important to turn each patty on its sides and against the sides of the pan to crisp the bacon. The cheese mixture is added and the patties are finished in the oven at 400° for an additional 10 minutes. The burger had that nice crispy charred crust that cast iron skillets provide.
The second time I made these burgers, I seared and cooked the patties on the grill and got beautiful grill marks. Both options worked out well. The key is to use high heat and not overcook, so the burger stays nice and juicy. The cheese will take at least 3-4 minutes to melt all the way through. Be sure to monitor.
The best way to load your burgers with cheese.
Typically stuffed burgers have the cheese sandwiched in the middle between patties. A small amount of cheese in the center. For this burger, I created a deep open well in the center of the patty using a soda can. Then, with the soda can still in the center, form the patty around the can and wrap it with bacon.
After the burger is cooked about 3/4 done, it is filled with the cheese mixture. This allows you to use more cheese (more is better!) and also the caramelized onions end up sitting on the cheese itself for a much richer gooey bite.
High Quality and Great Value Approachable Wines with CK Mondavi and Family
Craft beers and inventive cocktails are featured prominently in gastropub menus, however, a beautiful glass of wine is the best way to elevate the gastropub burger experience. There’s nothing like a big juicy burger and a glass of cab.
CK Mondavi recently re-branded as CK Mondavi and Family to emphasize their focus on family and celebrate their 75 year heritage. They are a 4th generation family-owned and run company with a commitment to providing high quality yet very affordable wines you can enjoy anytime with family and friends.
The new labels offer fun flavor descriptors so you know what type of wine to expect. Want a “Rich and Velvety” wine for dinner? Choose the Cabernet Sauvignon. This eliminates the guesswork when you are shopping for wines.
The high quality of the wines and the great value, priced at $6.99, make CK Mondavi and Family wines perfect for Easy Entertaining. Choose your favorite white and red, white zinfandel, and Moscato for dessert and you are set to please all guests at your next party.
Follow @CKMondaviWines #CKMondaviandFamily, #CKSummerWines and #CKSummerBurgers hashtags on social and you’ll find more fun recipes.
Gastropub Cab and Blue Burger Wine Pairings
My pairing choice for the Cab and Blue Burger was of course the CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab is “Rich & Velvety” as the label says. Showing a deep red color, rich with cherry and blackberry flavors balanced with just a hint of oak and a long fruit finish. It’s a great wine to pair with food and easy to drink, even during summertime.
This wine is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 4% Zinfandel, 3% Merlot, 2% Ruby Cabernet, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% other. All grapes used are sourced from California. A large portion of which are estate grown coming from the family’s 1,850 acres of vineyards, making this affordable wine also All American. In fact, CK Mondavi and Family are the first and only wines 100% certified “Made in the USA”
I learned during a recent luncheon with Janice Mondavi, wife of owner Marc Mondavi, that he loves to blend wines in order to give them character and elegance. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons they are so easy to drink and still maintain an affordable price point.
If you’re not a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, the Merlot, described on the label as “Silky & Smooth” is another great pairing with the gastropub Cab & Blue burger. It offers flavors of cherries and plums, rich on the mouth with a silky smooth finish. You can make the caramelized onions with merlot instead. Call it a “Merlot & Blue Burger”.
For those non-red-wine drinkers, choose the Chardonnay. “Bright & Fresh” with aromas of lemon and citrus combined with flavors of apples and pears. You could make the caramelized onions with chardonnay instead for a different flavor profile. Not sure how it would taste on the burger but I’m sure it would be great over a meaty fish or chicken burger as well.
Cabernet Caramelized Onions Recipe
Top your burgers and steaks with this elegant jam-like rich onion topping. It is sure to elevate them to foodie nirvana status!
- 1 large or 2 medium Vidalia onion thin sliced (aprox. 3 cups)
- 2/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon red wine I used CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon Fresh cracked pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat.
- Add onions, sugar and salt. Cook stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add wine, vinegar and pepper and cook until liquid is gone, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover and set aside. Can be made ahead and refrigerated.
Gastropub Cab and Blue Burger Recipe
This recipe serves 4 with thick 1/2 lb. burger patties. It’s a grown-up elegant burger loaded with four kinds of cheese, topped with rich Cabernet caramelized onions, and wrapped in bacon, guaranteed to make your next cookout a classy affair!
This recipe serves 4 with thick 1/2 lb. burger patties. It's a grown up elegant burger loaded with four kinds of cheese, topped with rich Cabernet caramelized onions and wrapped in bacon, guaranteed to make your next cookout a classy affair!
- 2 lbs ground beef (I used an 80/20 blend of ground chuck)
- 3 cloves fresh garlic (mashed)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 8 slices center cut applewood smoked bacon
- 2 oz Gruyere cheese (fresh grated)
- 1 oz blue cheese
- 2 oz white cheddar cheese (fresh grated)
- 1 oz Muenster cheese (thin sliced)
- Fresh chives (chopped)
- Red leaf lettuce (leaves separated)
- Cabernet caramelized onions (see recipe above)
- 4 brioche buns sliced (you can also use Kaiser or onion rolls)
- Using your hands, lightly mix beef with garlic salt, pepper and fresh mashed garlic cloves. Don’t over mix.
- Form into ½ lb. beef patties. Using a spoon, make a hole in the center of the patty about half way down.
- Using a small, clean soda or beer can, insert in the hole at the center of the patty and form beef around it. This will create a deep well to place the cheese.
- Wrap 2 slices of bacon around the patty and secure with toothpick.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for remaining patties.
- Place formed patties on tray and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
- Mix gruyere, blue cheese and cheddar with chives in a small bowl and set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Heat grill to 400-500 degrees. Don’t forget to lightly brush grates with oil. OR you can use cast iron skillet or grill skillet on your stove.
- Grill or sear burger patties for 4 minutes, turn and sear on other side for 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add cheese mixture and top with slice of Muenster cheese.
- Return to heat and cook for 4-5 minutes (for medium rare) or to desired doneness.
- Remove from heat, place red leaf lettuce on bottom of roll, place burger patty on top, then top with a heaping spoonful of Cabernet caramelized onions.
- Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks from the bacon in each patty.
- Serve with your favorite red wine (I selected CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon)
There you have it! Easy Entertaining with a Gastropub Cab and Blue Burger and CK Mondavi and Family wine pairing. Perfect for your next gathering. I hope it will inspire you to get your family and friends together for a classy cookout and Go #MakeSomedayHappen!
Check out my Epic Fig Glazed Candied Bacon and Widowmaker Pizza recipes for more easy entertaining recipes and wine pairing ideas. Don’t Miss This Summer Tapas Party Tips and Epic Spanish Garlic Shrimp.
Disclosure: This recipe was sponsored by CK Mondavi and Family, as part of the CK Mondavi Ambassador program. All opinions are my own. As always, I only choose to work with brands I love and would recommend to inspire you to go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time!
Penelope Smith says
I have always wondered what is on a gastropub menu. I like seeing how they made the hole in the patty for the cheese. That seems like a fun way to make a burger. It seems like gastropubs make great comfort food. I will have to give going to one a try.
Christina Thomas says
This is definitely comfort food to the next level. I hope you enjoy it!
The flavors in this burger sound seriously mouth-watering!
Christina Thomas says
This is now our favorite burger! Thanks for checking out the recipe!
Oh wow! This is so mouth watering! I also love how you made a great big well for that filling 🙂 I definitely need to try this recipe. All of the components just come together in such a yummy way! I will let you know how it turned out for sure!
Christina Thomas says
Thank you for checking it out! The well in the center of the patty is the trick to a gooey cheese-filled burger! I hope you like it!