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Kobebella Burgers with Avobasil Aioli

Every time I light up the grill, I conceive of new ideas that build upon those from the past 35 years as the family cook in order to serve interesting and hopefully more enticing meals for those I cook for, my family and friends. While ground Kobe on its own grills up as a special, tasty burger that my kids love, I wanted to dress it up for a summer get-together. My burger recipe pulls together some of my favorite staples: beef, cheese, mushrooms, avocado, fresh herbs, and fine wine. It’s a burger truly worthy of being cooked among the vineyards at Napa Valley.


Drunken Mushrooms:
2 large portabella mushrooms, stems removed
4 Tbsp olive oil
¼ C Sutter Home Pinot Noir
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Kobe Patties:
2 lbs. ground Kobe beef
1 large portabella mushroom, stems removed, to yield
1C finely chopped 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ C red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ C Sutter Home Pinot Noir
Avobasil Aioli:
1 large ripe Haas avocado
4 oz. feta cheese
½ C mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ C fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Buns and Additions:
6 Kaiser buns, split
¼ C mayonnaise 1
2 slices muenster cheese
1 bunch fresh spinach, stems removed and julienned
6 thin slices red onion


If using a charcoal grill, prepare mesquite coals for a medium-hot, fire; if instead using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high. To prepare the Drunken Mushrooms, slice 2 large portabellas into 1/4” cross-sections (at least 20 slices, lest a couple be lost to the grill!), and arrange slices into a shallow dish. Drizzle slices with olive oil and wine; season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate. To prepare the patty mixture, place the Kobe beef into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the diced mushrooms, feta cheese, garlic, onion, basil, ½ tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper, mixing well. Gently incorporate this mixture into the bowl containing the Kobe beef. Divide into 6 equal portions; form each into a 5” patty, taking care not to overhandle the meat, and arrange patties into a shallow dish. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of patties, and dust top side with remaining salt and pepper. Add ¼ C Pinot Noir to the dish; cover and refrigerate. To prepare the Avobasil Aioli, combine the avocado, feta cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, basil, and pepper in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until time for burger assembly. Remove the patties and mushrooms from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes prior to grill time. When the grill is ready, place the patties (salt and pepper side down) and the Drunken Mushrooms on the rack, uncovered. Flip the mushrooms after 2 minutes, grilling them for a total of 3 to 4 minutes. Move the mushrooms to the rack edges, away from direct heat. Flip patties after 4 to 5 minutes (for medium); top with a cheese slice, 3 grilled Drunken Mushroom slices, and another cheese slice. Cover and finish grilling to preference (after flipping, a total of 4 to 5 more minutes for medium). During the final cooking minutes, smear insides of bun tops and bottoms approximately ½ Tbsp of mayonnaise (each), and toast until golden, about 1 minute. To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Avobasil Aioli on the inside of each toasted bun top. Top each bun bottom with a small pile of the julienned spinach, a Kobe patty, and 1 red onion slice. Finish your mouth-watering creation with bun top and serve immediately. Serves 6.


1) While Kobe ground beef may not yet be available at your local grocery, it can be ordered through most butchers, readily available in specialty markets or conveniently delivered from many online sources at a reasonable cost. 2) As each side of these burgers are drizzled with EVOO, there is no need to brush the rack with oil. 3) The mushrooms add additional moisture, and the feta accounts for some of the salt content, which together with the Kobe beef make this burger so very tender, juicy and flavorful. 4) The two layers of mild muenster cheese with the Drunken Mushrooms in between offer up an additional surprise. 5) The Avobasil Aioli compliments this special burger more so than ketchup or other typical condiments....