I moved from South Carolina to Minnesota in 1999. The family that became my in-laws took me to a traditional lutefisk dinner that first week. As you can imagine, I was highly suspicious of all Midwestern traditions from that point forward -Once Bitten Twice Shy and all that. Thankfully my Minnesotan family made up for the whole lutefisk debacle when they introduced me to brats; casual cookouts have never been the same.
This leads me to a new-found phenomena the fully loaded brat burger. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also added a big spoonful of chili to mine, it just didn’t photograph very well.)
Last week I received an email asking if I’d be willing to check out Johnsonville’s new product as part of the No Ordinary Burger promotion by the National Pork Board. We normally buy half a cow, so burger patties -of any kind- aren’t anything I’ve paid much attention to.
Preparation of the patties themselves is simple enough. You grill for 15 – 18 minutes over medium-low heat. You know the grill is medium-low when you can hold your dry hand about an inch over the grate for 5 – 7 seconds. (Yes, count 1 Mississsippi, 2 Mississippi etc). To get nice grill marks, rotate the patties 90 degrees about 4 minutes in, flip the patties at 8, rotate again at 12. See, isn’t that easy? As always, watch for flare ups.
To get in on the fully loaded brat burger action, you’ll also need:
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- jalapenos (we used 1 per burger)
- bacon (2 slices per burger)
- cheese slices (colby jack)
Grab an old sheet pan or a large cast iron skillet.
Fire up the grill and grill the bacon and vegetables over medium heat. Grill the jalapenos directly on the grill. If you have a fairly large grill, the bacon and the vegetables will finish about the same time as the burgers.
If you don’t want the bacon, you can grill bell peppers and onion using the foil pack method.
Turn the jalapenos occasionally. When the skin just starts to blacken, remove the peppers from the grill and place them in a zippered plastic bag. The steam will loosen the skin to make peeling the peppers easier. Before serving, remove the outer skin, slice in half, and use a knife to scrape out the ribs and seeds. This gets rid of most of the heat, leaving a fabulous roasted jalapeno flavor.
Serve the burgers with the vegetables, jalapenos, cheese, and bacon on toasted buns.
So you’ve got the fully loaded burgers, how do you make those oven baked sweet potato fries?
It’s ridiculously easy, don’t worry about measuring, this is a simple method not an actual recipe.
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Grab a couple of sweet potatoes, some olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper. To make less mess you’ll also need a knife, cutting board, and a bowl.
Scrub the potatoes and then slice into fry sized slices. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Lightly salt and pepper the fries and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how done you prefer your fries.
Could that be easier? Probably not.
In other news, Johnsonville is hosting a recipe contest with a chance to win a free groceries for a year. Just head over to their No Ordinary Burger Contest. You can also find Johnsonville on Facebook and Twitter. You can find the new Brat Burgers only at Walmart.
How will you top your brat burger?
I was compensated for this post.