Beef Burger with Chile Butter Core, Dressed with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo and Guacamole
Makes 4 large burgers
Disclaimers: This isn’t a simple recipe and it involves quite a bit of prep work. The chile butter and mayo need to be made in advance, so a little planning is necessary. Stuffing a disc of flavored butter into the burger patties takes a little practice, but the result will blow your guests away. Be sure not to turn the burgers until they’ve started to get firm, and keep an eye out for flare-ups. Also please note: Warn your guests that the burgers have a molten filling or they could be in for a shock! In any case, have plenty of napkins at the ready. These are very juicy burgers.
For the chile butter:
1/2 lb | 250 g butter
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp | 25 mL ancho chile powder
1 head roasted garlic (see recipe below)
1/2 tsp | 2 mL salt
For the guacamole:
2 large, ripe, but still firm avocados
2 ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lime or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro
3 tinned green chiles, rinsed, seeded, and chopped
1 finely minced jalapeño or serrano chile (optional)
For the burgers:
11/2 to 2 lb | 750 g to 1 kg ground beef,
(20 percent fat)
1/4 cup | 50 mL cold water
1/2 tsp | 2 mL garlic salt
1/2 tsp | 2 mL onion salt
1 Tbsp | 15 mL prepared mustard
Your favourite grilling rub
1/4 cup | 50 mL Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see recipe below)
4 slices Jack cheese (optional)
4 hamburger buns
To make the chile butter, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together until they’re smooth. Transfer the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a tube 11⁄2 inches | 4 cm in diameter. Twist the ends of the tube to close it, and place it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. (It’s a good idea to make the mayo at the same time as you make the chile butter, as both improve when you let the flavors marry.)
The guacamole doesn’t keep well and should be made no more than an hour before you put the burgers on the grill. To make it, peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados. (You can mash the avocados as much as you like, but I prefer a chunky guacamole.) Blend in the lime or lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, green chiles, and hot chiles, if desired. Season the guacamole to taste with salt. Cover it and set it aside in a cool place.
Combine the ground beef, water, garlic salt, and onion salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Mix the ingredients lightly with your hands, being careful not to overwork the beef. Split it into 4 equal portions and roll it into balls. Take the chile butter out of the freezer and slice off four 1⁄4-inch | 0.5 cm discs. Poke your thumb in the middle of each ball to create a hole and insert the disc of chile butter. Encase the butter in the burger as you shape it into a classic burger shape about 3⁄4-inch | 1.2 cm thick, ensuring that there are no openings where molten butter could run out. Set the rest of the chile butter aside to soften.
Coat the burger patties lightly with the mustard and sprinkle them with a light coating of granulated garlic, then a light coating of the rub.
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Place the burgers on the grill, close the cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook them for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye out for flare-ups. Turn them carefully, and cook them for another 5–8 minutes, or until the patties become firm, but not hard, to the touch. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on top of each patty about 2 minutes before you plan to take them off the grill.
Transfer the burgers from the grill to a serving plate. Tent the burgers with foil and let them rest for 2–3 minutes. In the meantime, coat the cut side of each half of the buns with some softened chile butter, sprinkle them with a little granulated garlic, and toast them for 30–60 seconds on the grill.
Dress the buns with a generous slather of chipotle mayo. Place the burgers on the buns and top each burger with a big dollop of guacamole. Cover the patties with the top half of the buns and serve.
Here’s a great kitchen staple that works well baked in the oven or planked on the grill. Roasted garlic is as versatile as it is delicious. Use it as a flavor enhancer in mayo, an enricher of mashed potatoes, and a flavor note in soups and sauces—or just spread it on a piece of toasted French bread.
Preheat the oven to 350°F | 175°C (or preheat your grill in preparation for plank-cooking). With a sharp knife, slice off the top of a garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and wrap the bulb tightly in foil. Place it in the oven, cut side up, and roast it for about an hour, or until the garlic is soft and lightly browned. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can squeeze the head and the roasted garlic comes out like toothpaste.
Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo
This invention of Calgary caterer Margie Gibb is particularly good as a dip for pieces of smoked or grilled sausage, but it’s also great on just about anything.
11/2 cups | 375 mL mayonnaise
1 whole head roasted garlic, cloves squeezed
out of their skins
1 tsp | 5 mL finely ground cumin (preferably made
from toasted cumin seeds)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
(add more chipotle if you like it hot)
Whiz all of the above in a blender or food processor till smooth, then refrigerate. The flavour gets better after it's stored for even a few hours, but it's best if you make it the day before.
(Photo courtesy of the late, great Greg Athans)