The California Triple Burger

The California Triple Burger
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About This Recipe

The sun sets over the vineyards, casting a golden hue over Napa Valley. The scent of fresh produce and simmering sauces waft from the kitchens of homes and restaurants alike. Here in wine country, food isn't just sustenance—it's an art, a passion, and a way of life. When I think of classic American dishes given a Napa twist, my mind often drifts to the humble burger, and not just any burger, but the iconic California Triple Burger.

Inspired by the bustling burger joints of Southern California, the triple triple animal style has long been a staple for burger aficionados. But as someone who's spent countless hours in the heart of Napa, I wanted to create a burger that captured the spirit and flavors of wine country. And so, the California Triple Burger was born—a marriage of the finest local beef, farm-fresh produce, and a unique California-Inspired Special Sauce. The sauce, a blend of mayonnaise, ketchup sourced from local tomatoes, finely chopped pickled jalapeños, Napa Valley wine vinegar, and a hint of garlic powder, is a game-changer. It introduces a tangy and spicy kick that sets this triple cheeseburger apart from any you've tried before.

As for the wine pairings, a burger as robust as the best hamburger recipe in California calls for wines that not only stand up to its flavors but elevate them. The peppery notes of a Zinfandel, such as those from the renowned Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma, beautifully complement the spiciness of the burger sauce recipe. If you're seeking a classic pairing, a bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley resonates with the beef's richness. And for the more adventurous palate, a GSM blend from Tablas Creek Vineyard introduces a symphony of berry fruitiness, spicy undertones, and depth—a trio mirroring the complexity of our triple cheeseburger.

Now, imagine hosting a dinner in the heart of wine country. Start with a fresh Sonoma greens salad, a hint of citrus from oranges plucked right here in California. Then, present the star of the evening, the Napa burger, served triple triple animal style. The three by three layers of beef, cheese, and California-Inspired Special Sauce will undoubtedly be the talk of the table. Round off the evening with a cheese board showcasing local selections and perhaps a late harvest wine or port to end the night.

For those planning a visit to Napa or Sonoma, take a trip down the picturesque lanes and pop into the local wineries. Apart from the aforementioned gems, the historic Heitz Cellar is a must-visit, producing some of the most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, and if you find yourself in Sonoma, Ravenswood Winery offers an unforgettable Zinfandel experience.

There's something magical about Napa Valley and its surrounding regions. Whether it's the rolling vineyards, the crisp air, or the sense of community, this corner of California is a gastronomic paradise. And while burgers might seem simple, here in Napa, they're anything but. The California Triple Burger isn't just a dish; it's a celebration of all things California—its flavors, its produce, and its spirit. So the next time you bite into a California burger, remember, you're tasting a piece of wine country, one delicious bite at a time.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Napa Valley Wine Vinegar

Napa Valley, renowned globally for its premium wines, is also home to a lesser-known treasure—Napa Valley wine vinegar. This elixir is a by-product of the winemaking process and captures the essence of the region's grapes. While our California Triple Burger boasts of several star ingredients, the Napa Valley wine vinegar in our California-Inspired Special Sauce is what sets it apart. Its subtle acidity and depth of flavor balance the creaminess of the mayonnaise and the tang of the tomatoes, creating a symphony of taste that's distinctively Californian.

How To Perfectly Sear Your Triple Burger Patties

Searing your burger patties to perfection is crucial for that juicy, flavorful bite. Here's how:

  1. Preheat your skillet or grill: Ensure it's scorching hot before you place your patties. A hot surface ensures a good sear.
  2. Oil it up: A light brush of oil prevents sticking and adds to the sear.
  3. Don't overcrowd: Give each patty ample space. Overcrowding leads to steaming rather than searing.
  4. Press gently: Once the patty is on the skillet, press gently with a spatula for an even sear.
  5. Flip only once: Allow the patty to cook undisturbed until it releases easily from the skillet or grill. This ensures a beautiful crust.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I store leftovers? Absolutely! Store any leftover triple cheeseburger in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in an oven or skillet to retain juiciness.
  2. Any allergen information? This recipe contains gluten (bun), dairy (cheese), and egg (mayonnaise). Always check ingredient labels if you have food sensitivities.
  3. Can I substitute another vinegar for Napa Valley wine vinegar? While Napa Valley wine vinegar is unique, in a pinch, you can use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. However, this might slightly alter the sauce's taste.
  4. What's the best skillet for searing burgers? A cast-iron skillet is the top choice. It retains heat well and ensures an even sear on your patties.
  5. Can I use a meat alternative for the patties? Yes! Feel free to substitute with plant-based meat alternatives available in the market. Adjust cooking times as per the product instructions.

Tips for Success

  1. Quality Ingredients: The magic of the California Triple Triple lies in its ingredients. Source fresh, local produce and high-quality beef for the best results.
  2. Rest the Patties: Before cooking, let your shaped patties rest for about 10 minutes at room temperature. This ensures even cooking.
  3. Sauce Ahead: Make the California-Inspired Special Sauce a day ahead and refrigerate. This allows the flavors to meld, resulting in a richer taste when spread on your burger.

Crafting the perfect Napa burger involves love, care, and a touch of regional flair. By focusing on the quality of ingredients and mastering the cooking techniques, you'll achieve a burger that's not only a tribute to the iconic triple triple animal style but also a culinary representation of California's rich gastronomic heritage.

Recipe Overview

The California Triple Burger
Lily Anderson
1 serving
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 3 high-quality beef patties (about 4 ounces each)
  • 3 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices of American cheese
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Fresh lettuce leaves (preferably butter lettuce)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pickles, sliced
  • 1 artisanal burger bun (brioche or sourdough recommended)
  • Optional: A slice of avocado for added California flair

California-Inspired Special Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of ketchup sourced from local tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Napa Valley wine vinegar
  • A pinch of garlic powder

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Begin by mixing all the ingredients for the special sauce in a bowl. Once blended, set aside.
  2. Preheat your grill or a skillet on medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Season the beef patties generously with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.
  4. Place the patties on the grill or skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
  5. A minute before the patties are done, place a slice of cheddar cheese on each patty and let it melt slightly.
  6. Toast the brioche buns on the grill or in the skillet for about a minute or until they're golden brown.
  7. To assemble the burger, spread a generous amount of the special sauce on the bottom half of each bun. Place the beef patty with melted cheese on top. Layer with tomato slices, onion, and lettuce. Cap it with the top half of the bun.
  8. Serve immediately.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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