25 June 2014

It's summer!  Have you been grilling a lot?  We sure have.  I love to get creative with the grill, coming up with unique things to cook.  That's why I was super excited when Red Gold Tomatoes asked me if I would like to sample some of their products for their second annual Summer Grillin' Party.  I was also excited to work with Red Gold because they are fellow Hoosiers.  They were founded and still operate in my home state of Indiana.  All of their tomatoes come from Indiana, Ohio, and some neighboring states.  They are truly a Midwestern company!  Did you know that Red Gold consumes 95% of Indiana's tomato crop and 80% of all Midwestern tomatoes?  Wow!

Red Gold sent me this apron and six cans of their diced tomatoes.  They also sent some recipes for burgers that include their tomatoes.  Did you know you can put tomatoes inside your burgers instead of on top?  I didn't! I would have thought they would be too wet and the burger would fall apart.  Not true!  I decided to create a fun burger recipe of my own that included diced tomatoes.  I grilled them up tonight, and oh man, are they amazing!  One of my all-time favorite tomato dishes is the classic BLT.  Love BLTs!  So I decided to make a burger version.  Ground chicken, diced tomatoes, chopped bacon, and a little ranch seasoning all mixed together and grilled to perfection.  Say goodbye to boring old beef burgers!

Ranch BLT Chicken Burgers

1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp dry ranch dressing mix
4 strips bacon, cooked
4 toasted hamburger buns
Green leaf lettuce
Ranch dressing

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Place the chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, and dry ranch dressing mix into a medium bowl.  Chop the bacon and add it to the bowl.  Drain the tomatoes very well and add them to the bowl.  Mix up the contents of the bowl until it is evenly distributed.

Separate chicken mixture into four patty-shaped servings.  If you have time, you can refrigerate the patties at this point to make the mixture a bit more firm.  But this step is unnecessary.

Oil the grill grates and grill patties over medium heat until completely cooked through and the middle of each patty registers at least 160°, flipping once.  

Place a patty on each hamburger bun and top with lettuce and ranch dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

Check out the gorgeous grill marks on these babies.  Beautiful.

 See how it's chock-full of juicy red tomatoes and smoky bacon?  So good!  

These burgers were a huge hit with my family.  They were quite large, so I split one in half for my daughters (ages 4 and 6).  They both wolfed down their half and asked for a second.  I love it!  

You can certainly use ground beef instead of the chicken if you prefer, but I chose the chicken because of its more mild flavor.  I didn't want the flavors of the tomato and the bacon to be overwhelmed by the beef.  And the chicken was the perfect choice.  Moist and tender, it let the tomato and bacon be the stars of the dish.  Disclaimer: Ground chicken is not as easy to work with as ground beef when it comes to burgers.  It is much softer and "squishier".  It can be difficult to form the patties, so I just kind of plopped it on the grill into a patty kind of shape.  Then it firms up as it cooks and it should be holding together just fine by the time you flip it to the other side.  They probably won't be the prettiest burgers you have ever served your family, but after one bite, you won't care one bit what they look like!

Let me know if you try these burgers and also go check out Red Gold's Facebook page.  Their Summer Grillin' Party starts today and they are giving away 1,000 Red Gold aprons (like mine above) every week until July 23.  There will also be one grand prize winner who will win a large Big Green Egg Grill.  So go enter!

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