Bacon Habanero Ranch Burger

So here's the thing, I am obsessed with McDonald's Bacon Habanero Ranch Burger. Since they first launched it, it has become the only sandwich that I buy. I am ashamed to say that there have been days where I go for lunch and dinner in order to enjoy this delicious sandwich. As I let the food settle, it only gives me time to realize that I am gorging myself with McDonald's. It is then that I begin to second guess my love for the habanero burger. Do I really want to be eating it? Absolutely. Could I do better at home? I hope so. mcdonalds

So with this idea in mind, I did a little search and decided to develop my own version of McDonald's Bacon Habanero Ranch Burger. Here it is.

habaneros

With the internet nowadays, we hear so many horror stories about the meat that McDonald's uses in their hamburger. Maybe the stories are true. Perhaps they are urban legends. Either way, as delicious as McDonald's is, I prefer knowing 100% where the meat I use comes from. In fact, it was a great practice to be aware of where all of your ingredients come from and what processes they may go through before they reach your hands.

baconhabanero

I made the poor decision (some would say best decision) in making the habanero ranch sauce with two habanero peppers. The McDonald's sauce definitely has a strong kick to it, it would be foolish to say that it is not hot. However, the sauce that I made...wow. If you are adverse to spicy things, this may not be the best recipe for you. Or if you feel like being adventurous, make the sauce with only one habanero pepper. Make adjustments based on your own personal tastes.

baconhabaneroranchburger

While I absolutely love McDonald's version of this burger, and will most likely eat it in the future, it is nice to know that you can easily take food items from restaurants and make them in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Have you tried making a restaurant meal before? Any luck that you'd like sharing?

Bacon Habanero Ranch Burger

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 slices of white cheddar cheese bacon, cooked tomato, sliced lettuce habanero ranch sauce (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over.
  2. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes.
  3. Flip over the burgers.
  4. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness.
  5. Add the cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking and top with a basting cover, close the grill cover, or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.
  6. Remove patties from grill, serve on bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and habanero ranch sauce.

Habanero Ranch Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 habanero pepper, stemmed and seeded (I used 2 habaneros. It was delicious but very hot!) 1 clove garlic 1 green onion dash white vinegar salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth.

Grilled Bacon, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza

I have been meaning to attempt a grilled pizza for longer than I can remember. For some reason or another it just has not happened. Until this past week. My brother is home from college for the summer and has been bugging me time and time again to make pizzas on the grill. So while I was out getting groceries for the week, I bought the ingredients for a few different pizzas and the decision was made. We were grilling pizza.
asparagus
 If I am being honest, I had no idea what I was doing. Putting pizza dough on the grill seemed like a terrible idea. Wouldn't it just go limp between the grates? Another skill that I have lots of room for improvement upon is my pizza tossing skills. From the picture below, it is clear to see that Tommy cannot toss pizza dough into a circle.
grilling
 While I've never grilled pizza before, I have made it from scratch and cooked it in a conventional oven. My favorite thing about pizza is the infinite amount of topping options. Green olive and onion. Shredded chicken with buffalo sauce and bleu cheese. Arugula, prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. You can cater your toppings to whatever your tastes and favorites flavors are.  For this pizza I used the pesto sauce I had previously made and combined it with bacon, asparagus and goat cheese.
I chose to cut a few corners due to lack of time (and natural light). I purchased a pre-made pizza dough at my local grocery store and chose to go that route. More often than not this tastes just as good and is considerably easier and time conscious. I will however make another pizza with a homemade dough.
pizza
Have you ever tried grilling pizza? What are your favorite toppings or combinations of ingredients?
Grilled Bacon, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza
Ingredients:
8 ounces asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins pizza dough (I used fresh pre-made dough from the store) olive oil, for brushing Kosher salt 1/4 cup basil pesto 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions:
  1. Heat half of a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 400°F) and the other half to low (about 300°F). Fill a large saucepan with heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Strain and rinse with cold water, drain well, and set aside.
  2. Divide dough in 1/2 and roll into 2 rounds about 1/4 inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Brush the top of 1 round with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Lay dough oiled side down on the hotter half of the grill and brush the top with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill dough without moving until grill marks form on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip dough with a spatula or tongs to the cooler half of the grill, spread with 1/2 of the pesto, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the reserved asparagus, and 1/2 of the goat cheese. Cover and grill, rotating if necessary to avoid any hot spots, until dough is lightly charred and cheese is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer pizza to a cutting board, sprinkle 1 tablespoon more of the Parmesan over top, slice, and serve. Repeat with second round of dough and remaining toppings.

Door County SMAK: Fred & Fuzzy's

Door County is known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Small coastal towns. Cottages on bluffs overlooking the water. Local coffee shops. There is a reason that this coastal community has quickly become one of my favorite weekend getaway destinations. You come here and forget all about the hustle and bustle of your regular schedule. You sleep in most mornings, enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out over the water, spend the afternoons in the sun, and then go out in the evenings for dinner and drinks. Fred & Fuzzy's

Fred & Fuzzy's Waterfront Bar & Grill is located in Sister Bay on Pebble Beach, just off Highway 42. Tucked back amidst a resort, this restaurant overlooks the water and is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset as you are finishing up dinner and enjoying a drink or two.

Corned Beef Reuben

The items that fill the menu consist of your standard bar and grill food - burgers, sandwiches, wraps, jalapeño poppers, a few salads. The cherry margaritas and Moscow Mule, along with the brews from Wisconsin, are worth the visit alone. Being a foodie, I would like to see higher quality food, but can appreciate what it is - bar food. In my opinion, the real star of this restaurant is the atmosphere.

Fred & Fuzzy'sI would highly recommend going to Fred & Fuzzy's if visiting Door County - it is the perfect spot for an outdoor meal. I have never had a bad experience and have been very happy with the service that we receive. A note to keep in mind: during the hot summer days, this restaurant can get crowded, so don't be surprised if you have to wait.

Fred & Fuzzy's = 8/10 SMAK Approval Points