Food & Swine

$17,500 Sour Apple Pork Burgers


Sour Apple Pork Burger: A soft toasted Kings Hawaiian potato roll with apple butter, an apple and wine laced pork burger patty topped with Maytag White Cheddar Cheese, apple butter candied bacon, tart cinnamon apples and fried onion strings.  Sounds like a mouthful, and it is.  A darn good one.


If you are new here, welcome and thanks for listening to “The Big Show” on NewsRadio 1040 WHO.  You’ve arrived at the right destination to find the winning pork burger recipe.  Read on…

Here’s the recipe for my creation that was entered in the Sutter Home Winery’s Build A Better Burger national burger cook-off this past weekend in beautiful St. Helena, California.  The burger took the $15,000 top prize in the Alternative Burger category along with gaining the votes of the crowd to become the $2,500 People’s Choice selection in the category. This event is second to none and the people who work within the Trinchero Family Estates and for this event are amazing.

Can you imagine the smile on my face when this guy came rolling in the day of the event.  Ear to ear.  The only thing I ingested after 10 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. the day of the contest was their Blueberry Sorbet.  WOW.


Below is the ‘edited’ recipe, and this is the only place you’ll find it.  I found after trial and error that the original recipe I submitted works famously but there are a few changes that needed to be made ie: cutting bacon in half widthwise before frying makes it easier, adding more flour to the flour mixture for dredging the onions in helps the potato chips stick even better, revising the name of the King’s Hawaiian Buns to say “Sandwich Buns”, etc.

Don’t skimp out on the Sutter Home Chenin Blanc wine here folks.  It is such a reasonably priced delicious tasting wine with subtle notes of apple and pear, plus it is Sutter Home’s Wine of the Month!  If you are not into wine, apple juice will fit as a suitable substitute for you.


For a press release created by the Iowa Pork Producers, click here.

Sour Apple Pork Burgers

by Cristen from

Makes 6 Large Pork Burgers

*contains small edits from the original recipe


1 pound ultra-thick sliced applewood smoked bacon, cut in half widthwise
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Chenin Blanc
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Sutter Home Chenin Blanc
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 quarts peanut oil for frying
2 medium sized Vidalia or other sweet onions, sliced into very thin rings
1 cup buttermilk
6 cups Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/3 cup apple butter
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chenin Blanc
2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 pounds quality ground pork shoulder
Reserved bacon fat drippings (from above)
1/2 cup shredded Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chenin Blanc
1/4 cup crushed Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips
2 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 ounces white Cheddar cheese, preferably Maytag Dairy Farms
6 Kings Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Large Sandwich Buns, split
1/3 cup apple butter


Heat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the bacon, set a fireproof skillet on the grill rack. Add the bacon and cook until chewy, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Strain and discard solids from the bacon drippings and pour into a large mixing bowl; reserve for later use in pork patty mixture. Clean skillet and add brown sugar, apple butter, wine, and cayenne pepper, stir well.  Add bacon back to skillet and place over heat for 4-5 minutes to caramelize the mixture onto the bacon slices and cook bacon to chewy crisp state.

To make the apples, wipe the skillet with paper towels. Add the apples, sugar, wine, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

To make the haystacks, place a large, high-sided, cast-iron pan on the grill rack or side burner. Pour in the oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Place the onions in the buttermilk and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse the potato chips in a food processor until very fine, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flour and black pepper until well incorporated. Working in two batches and using tongs, gently lift the onions out of the buttermilk, shaking gently over the bowl to release excess liquid, then drop into the potato chip mixture and toss gently until well coated. Gently lower into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. While warm, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and break into three equal pieces. Repeat with the remaining onions. Set aside until assembling the burgers. Remove the skillet from the grill.

To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.

To make the patties, add the pork to the bowl containing the reserved bacon drippings. Add the apple, wine, and chips and toss with a fork gently to combine. Form 6 equal patties, depressing the centers with your thumb so they don’t puff during grilling. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the seasoned salt.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, then brush liberally with glaze. Turn the patties over carefully and brush with more of the glaze. Place 1 ounce of the cheese on each patty. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes longer for medium doneness or until the burgers register 145 on an instant read thermometer. Transfer cheese topped patties to a plate to rest until assembling the burgers.

Place the buns, cut sides down, on the grill rack to toast lightly. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with the apple butter.

To assemble the burgers, place a cheese-topped patty on each bun bottom. Top each with 2 slices of the bacon, followed by 2 tablespoons of the apples, a mound of the onions, and the bun top. Serve immediately.

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  • Reply Matthew Ramsey May 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Congratulations! This sounds amazing. I listened to you this afternoon on “The Big Show”.

    • Reply Cristen May 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks so much! Glad you tuned in to “The Big Show” today, those guys are great!

  • Reply Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids May 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Can’t wait to try them out Cristen and congratulations again!

  • Reply RandomSweetnessBaking May 22, 2014 at 1:17 am

    You can truly say it’s a “winner winner” – congrats!!

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