Wild Green Cheeseburgers

Burgers.  Better yet, cheeseburgers.  Yes, please.

I’ll make these burgers oodles of times this summer.  Oh, I’ll plan that we are going to try out some other “new” burger, maybe one with bacon or blue cheese or something else, but it just never seems to actually happen.  I’ll get to the market and start weighing these other random potential burger options in my head and the image of this burger will float in instead, unbeckoned.  Once the image is in there, I can’t shake it.

This isn’t a bad thing, because these burgers are not merely very good – they are great. Truly.  Juicy and bursting with flavor, they never, ever disappoint.  If you like more heat, try swapping out the pepper jack cheese for habanero or jalapeno jack instead.  Spooning the sauce onto the burger itself and passing it along on the side also helps to make the spicy kick adjustable to individual taste.

Sometimes I make these into full-sized burgers (yields four), but more often into smaller sliders (yields six to eight, depending on bun size).  For a crowd, the recipe is easily doubled or tripled.  You can make the sauce and burger patties up to a day in advance and simply refrigerate until ready to use.  If you don’t have avocado oil on hand, corn or olive oil make fine substitutes.

I’ve personally never turned down a nice, cold beer to go with nearly anything cooked on the barbecue, but these particular burgers make an exceptional pairing with a light and icy vinho verde.

So, get grilling – cheeseburgers are waiting.  Go wild!

Wild Green Cheeseburgers

3 large jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Burger patties:
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 cup plus 2-3 tablespoon pepper jack cheese, shredded
3-4 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Buns and toppings:
brioche buns, sliced in half
avocado oil, for brushing
sour cream
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and sectioned into leaves
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1-2 large Hass avocados, sliced

For the sauce:  In a blender, combine all ingredients for sauce, excepting the salt and pepper.  Puree until smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and pulse to mix. Scrape into a lidded container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the burger patties:  Place the ground sirloin in a large bowl and add in the remaining ingredients for the patties, knead until incorporated.  Shape into large burger-sized or slider-size patties to fit buns, roughly 3/4 to an inch in thickness.  Set aside on a plate or platter lined with parchment or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until 15 minutes prior to grilling.

When ready to cook, place the burger patties on a medium hot grill for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning two to three times during the grilling process.  While the burgers are cooking, lightly brush the brioche buns with a bit of avocado oil to prevent sticking.  When the burgers are cooked through, move to the side of the grill or place on a platter and tent with foil.  Add the buns to the grill, cut side down, and cook until lightly toasted and golden brown.

To assemble:  Set the cheeseburger patties on the bottom half of the bun, spooning the sauce over the top of the burger.  Add tomato,lettuce and avocado slices.  Spread the cut side of the top half bun with a thin layer of sour cream and place on top of the burger pile. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce on the side.


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