Chef John Therres
Renaissance M Street Hotel
Housemade condiments are trending as a way to differentiate burgers. At the Renaissance M Street Hotel in Washington, D.C., chef Therres takes sliders to the next level by swapping out the expected tomato ketchup for a scratch-made sweet-sour pear ketchup. Instead of using beef for the patties, the kitchen grinds thick-cut bacon and combines the mixture with blue cheese.
2 tbsp. clarified butter or vegetable oil
½ cup diced sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
4 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups apple cider or clear apple juice
¼ to ½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
3 lb. thick-cut bacon slices
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
24 small soft rolls, preferably brioche, lightly toasted or grilled
1. Prepare pear ketchup: in large, nonreactive skillet over medium heat, warm butter or oil. Add onions; cook until translucent. Add pears; stir to coat evenly with mixture.
2. Stir in apple cider or juice; reduce heat to low and simmer gently until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Set aside to cool.
3. Puree mixture until smooth. Add cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons at a time, tasting after each addition. Stop when ketchup is tangy enough to balance bacon and cheese.
4. Prepare sliders: Stack bacon slices together and cut each slab into large chunks. Refrigerate or freeze chunks until very firm.
5. Using a meat grinder fitted with fine plate or food processor, chop bacon. It should remain uniform and resemble ground beef but not be mushy.
6. Add blue cheese; form mixture into 24 (2-inch) patties. Chill well until ready to cook.
7. Grill burgers in batches in large cast iron pan, or bake in 350 F oven to an internal temperature of 170 F. To serve, spread ketchup on tops of rolls and place sliders on roll bottoms.
Photo courtesy of USA Pears