One of my closest friends is a Tennessee native and I’ve had some of the best times visiting her and experiencing everything her small hometown has to offer. Being in the south is different, but in a relaxing kind of way, and the scenes are so breathtaking. During my visits, my friend and I always make a point to drive along the winding roads – I just can’t get enough of staring out the window at the gorgeous 360 backdrop. The scenes aren’t the only thing I adore about Tennessee, the food is just as great, if not better. My one-track-foodie mind is always happy whenever I think about the grub I’m going to devour in Tennessee!
One of the first southern foods my friend introduced me to was chocolate biscuits and gravy. I know, crazy, right?! I still remember waking up to the smell of chocolate in our apartment when we lived together and thinking why in the world is this girl making chocolate at 10 a.m.? Little did I know, biscuits and chocolate gravy is huge in the town she lives in AND this was just the beginning of an array of delicious foods I’d try.
A couple of years ago, my dear friend, bless her heart (had to use some sort of southern saying in this post), had me try two of my now favorite foods; pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes (served separately). If you have yet to try either, I suggest you scroll down. Your life will likely change for the better and you may find yourself wanting to bring pimento cheese to every get-together you attend, or in my case, putting it on your favorite foods.
Lucky for me, pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes pair perfectly with a grilled burger. I mean, what’s better than adding gooey cheese and crunch to a burger? Oh, and to top it all off, I added some candied jalapenos to mine (recipe from How Sweet It Is). Yep. It’s a lot, but the combination will make your taste buds go wild.
I’m a proud food mom on this one. My hope is that these pictures will cause you to run to the grocery store and fire up your grill. Please go make this burger and don’t forget to tag your photo with #marinamakeseats!!
Pimento Cheese Burgers with Fried Green Tomatoes
- ½ ground beef
- ½ pound ground chuck
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 8 slices of cooked bacon
- 4 pretzel buns
- 4 oz of cream cheese softened
- 1 (2 oz) jar of pimentos
- 2 cups of cheddar cheese
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 1 large green tomatoe, cut in four slices
- 3/4 cup of flour
- 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 3-4 jalapeño peppers, sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
For best results, prepare the toppings prior to cooking your burgers. Both the pimento cheese and candied jalapenos can be made a day in advance.
To make the pimento cheese, combine the cream cheese, pimentos and cheddar cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Set aside.
Next, make the candied jalapenos. Add the vinegar, sugar and garlic powder to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then add in the peppers and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all of the slices are submerged. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, but don’t overcook because the mixture will get sticky. Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place them in a jar or a bowl. Continue to cook the liquid for another 5 minutes until it has reduced by half, then pour it over the jalapenos. Allow the peppers to cool completely.
To make the fried green tomatoes, heat the canola oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Wait about 5-7 minutes for the oil to get hot. Test it with some of the cornmeal – if it fizzles, it’s ready. While the oil is heating, place flour in one bowl, eggs in a second bowl and cornmeal in a third bowl. Dunk the tomato slice in the flour, then the egg wash and lastly, dredge it with cornmeal. Repeat this step with the rest of the slices. Place each slice in the hot canola oil and cook for two minutes on each side, or until the tomato is crispy and golden brown. Remove the tomato slices with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
Finally, it’s time to grill your burgers (I swear, all this time is well worth it). Heat your grill to medium heat. Combine the two meats, salt and pepper in a bowl and form into four ½ thick patties. Using your thumb, press down in the middle of burger to create an indent – this allows the burgers to cook evenly. Place the burgers on the grill 6-8 minutes per side, turning only once. Two minutes before the burger is done, top each patty with two tablespoons of pimento cheese. Take the burgers off the grill as soon as the cheese has melted.
Assemble the burger by placing the patty on the pretzel bun and topping with bacon, fried green tomato and candied jalapenos.