The Heartland Cheeseburger

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by Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats

Ask anyone what foods they think of when they hear the word “Heartland” or the phrase “the Midwest,” and you’ll most likely get a similar response. Cheese! Corn! Bacon!

America’s heartland is home to some outstanding cheeses and with over 600 varieties, types and styles of cheese, Wisconsin is, without doubt, the mother of amazing Midwest cheeses. All summer long, cheese festivals are plentiful throughout Wisconsin. An essential ingredient in some of Wisconsin’s best foods, cheese and cheese pairings are a tradition during summer celebrations.

Local sweet corn harvests are also celebrated every summer in the Midwest. Pick-up trucks piled high with the golden-yellow crop empty in the blink of an eye at bustling morning farmers’ markets. It isn’t officially summer in the Midwest until you’ve had your first bite of a sweet and tender ear of corn.

The Midwest is also home to fantastic pork production. America’s premier bacon festival, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, takes place in the Midwest each year, and regrettably, tickets sell out in a matter of minutes.

What better way to celebrate these wonderful ingredients than with a Midwest-style cheeseburger? The Heartland Cheeseburger.

The Heartland Cheeseburger stars these three signature foods and brings them together for a mouthwatering affair. Fresh sweet corn in a smoky, juicy bacon burger dripping with oozy, sliced Wisconsin Cheddar cheese. Chopped bacon mixed into an all-beef patty lends a salty, smoky flavor, while also helping to keep the patty extremely moist when thrown onto a hot grill. Sweet corn, cut right off the cob and sautéed with spicy jalapeño, adds a burst of fresh, bright zest. There’s also avocado, not from the Midwest, I know, but a delicious and healthy spread for these cheeseburgers – and it adds even more bold color to the mix!

Without doubt, the melted Wisconsin Cheddar brings this burger masterpiece all together and adds a sharp and nutty flavor to the most sensational Heartland cheeseburger you’ve ever tasted!

The Heartland Cheeseburger

Serves 4

Cheeseburger

1 lb. 85/15 ground beef
6 strips bacon, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices Wisconsin Cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns

Sweet Corn Relish

2 strips bacon, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
3 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
<2 Tablespoons minced jalapeño 1 green onion, chopped 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon maple syrup Avocado Spread

1 avocado
salt & pepper, to taste

Combine beef, finely chopped bacon, salt and pepper, and then form into four patties. Cook on a hot grill to preferred doneness, about 3-4 minutes a side for medium-rare. Turn the heat off, place Cheddar slices on top of burgers and close the grill lid to allow cheese to melt.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Melt in butter then add corn, jalapeno, green onion, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook until corn is just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and remove the skillet from the heat.

Mash avocado flesh with salt and pepper, then spread equally on the bottom of each bun. Top with cheeseburger patty and sweet corn relish.

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