Wagyu beef is world-renowned for its exquisite marbling of fat.  Typically associated with Japan, herds are not being developed in other parts of the world, even here in the green grass of Vermont.  For this recipe, I am using Vermont Wagyu hamburger, which can be purchased on-line from VermontWagyu.com.  Any cut of Wagyu beef is going to sear beautifully as a result of the fat, making it a prime candidate for the grill or searing on the stovetop.  I decided to give this special ground Wagyu the extra special treatment by hickory smoking it first.  If you don’t have an outdoor smoker, you can buy stovetop smokers that do a great job without smelling the house.  I have a Burton stovetop unit I also use for dishes that require subtler smoking flavor, such as shrimp dishes.

1 lb. Vermont Wagyu Hamburger

Cabot Vermont Aged Cheddar

Beef BBQ Rub of choice

Burger Bun or Bulkie Roll

Iceberg Lettuce to top

For Chipotle Garlic Aioli:

½ Cup Mayonnaise

2 Clovers Garlic

¼ t Kosher Salt

1 T Lemon Juice

2T Olive Oil – I use Casas De Hualdo Manzanilla olive oil from Spain

1 Can of chipotle chiles in adobo (Chop one chipotle, and use 2 tablespoons of adobo)

Begin by heating your smoker to 225 degrees and load your hickory wood chips in the smoker box.  Meanwhile divide the 1 lb. package of ground Wagyu into equally sized 1/3 pound patties and pat them out.  Season with your favorite beef bbq rub.  I used my Jake’s Grillin’ blackened rub, which has some coffee grinds in it too to give the burger a unique taste.  I rub the seasoning on both sides.  When the smoker is up to temperature, place the patties on a middle shelf, and cook for 1 hour.

While the patties are cooking, make the Chipotle Garlic Aioli by peeling two cloves of garlic with a garlic press into a mixing bowl.  Add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and mash the garlic into the salt to make a paste.  Add ½ cup of Mayonnaise, and whisk it to combine with garlic.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of Casas De Hualdo Manzanilla olive oil, which is a medium bodies olive oil from Spain.  Whisk these ingredients into the mixture.  Mince 1 chipotle chile from the can of chipotle in adobo.  Add to aioli.  Take 2 tablespoon or more to taste of the adobo sauce and add into the aioli, and whisk together thoroughly.

After an hour on the smoker, remove the patties, and let them rest for 5 minutes.  Place a good metal skillet on the stove and heat to medium high (I use my good Bourgeat copper skillet for this).  When the skillet is hot (you can test my putting a drop of water in the pan and it should dance around), place the patties in the pan and sear for two to three minutes.  Flip over the patties, and top with aged Cabot Vermont Cheddar cheese.  Use a lid to cover the skillet to melt the cheese on top.  After a few minutes of searing the second side and having the cheese melt, place on a bun.  Spread aioli over the top of the bun and top the patty with iceberg lettuce.  Enjoy this delicious burger!  Together with the Runamok Maple Old Fashion below, you have three exceptional tastes from Vermont.

Runamok Maple Old Fashion

To go along with this special dinner I serve as an aperitif a maple old-fashioned using a recently introduced cocktail mixer from Runamok Maple Farm in Vermont (www.runamokmaple.com). Mix 1 part Runamok Maple Old Fashion syrup with 3 parts Bourbon in a short glass.  Mix thoroughly, and add ice.  Mix some more to chill the drink.  Top with a twist of orange and a cherry.  I use the Merry Maraschino from Tillen Farms that is available through Stonewall Kitchen ( www.stonewallkitchen.com ).