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Cheddar Bacon Burger Sliders with Angry Orchard Barbecue Sauce & Charred Jalapeño Relish

In this recipe, the addition of Angry Orchard Crisp Apple brings sweetness to contrast the spicy, tangy notes of the slider. The jalapeño relish brings the heat while the juicy sweetness of the cider helps balance that heat, toning it down with the bright apple flavor.

Makes 8 sliders

Ingredients (BBQ sauce):

  • 2 Cups Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • 2 Teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 6 Cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • ½ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 Cups apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 12 oz can tomato puree
  • ½ Cup molasses
  • ½ Teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt

Ingredients (relish):

  • 1 Tablespoon Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • 8 raw jalapeño peppers
  • 1 Cup pickled jalapeno pepper slices
  • 1 Clove garlic, chopped coarse
  • 1/4 Cup sweet onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 Teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons minced cilantro
  • 1 Teaspoon lime juice

Ingredients (burgers):

  • 12oz ground beef chuck
  • 12oz ground smoked bacon
  • 8oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 slider buns, toasted

Directions (BBQ sauce):

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to low. Cook on low for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
  5. Blend with an immersion blender to smooth.
  6. Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 1 month.

Directions (relish):

  1. Char the raw jalapeños on all sides directly over an open gas burner. If you do not have a gas burner, this can be done in a very hot cast iron pan on the grill or on the stove. The entire outside should be charred black before removing them from the heat.
  2. Place charred peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, charred skins will slip off and can be removed. Discard stem and seeds at this time as well.
  4. Place roasted peppers in the bowl of a food processor along with all other relish ingredients. Pulse for a few seconds to obtain a coarse salsa-like texture.
  5. Remove and chill.
Note: This can be done up to 1 week in advance.

Directions (burgers):

  1. Begin by heating a charcoal or gas grill to medium high in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Mix together ground beef, bacon, and cheese.
  3. Mix very gently to distribute and portion the mixture out into 8 equal balls.
  4. Smash balls down to ½ inch thickness and season the outsides with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the burgers on the grill and cook over medium high heat to until the cheese in each patty begins to melt from the meat. This should take approximately 2 minutes per side.
  6. Just before removing from the grill, baste the burgers with the barbecue sauce.
  7. Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for 2 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve burgers topped with a liberal spoonful of jalapeño relish on top and extra barbecue sauce on the side.