The Apple Jack

the apple jack burger
  • 4Servings


  • 8 slices smoky, meaty bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, skin on—quartered, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles—halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 shots (3 oz.) applejack brandy or Calvados
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 80 percent lean
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (about 1/3 palmful)
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 thick-cut deli slices pepper jack (1/4 lb.)
  • 4 sandwich-size English muffins, split and toasted
  • Sweet chili jam or red pepper jelly


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a slotted broiler pan or a rack set in a baking sheet. Bake until crispy, 18 to 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the butter, let it melt, then add the apple, onion and chiles; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and the apples are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the brandy in the last minute or two of cooking; stir until evaporated. Remove from the heat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or a griddle pan over medium-high.

In a medium bowl, mix the beef, Worcestershire, sage and crushed red pepper; season. Form into 4 patties (thinner in the centers for even cooking). Drizzle with oil and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more; add the cheese and tent with foil to allow the cheese to melt, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Divide the apple mixture among the muffin bottoms, top each with 2 slices bacon and a cheeseburger. Slather the muffin tops with jam and set in place.