RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Lex-Mex "Guac" Party Burgers

I have a serious weakness for Mexican food, which stems from my upbringing in California, where we're lucky to have an abundance of great Mexican restaurants and markets. When I moved to Lexington, KY, I quickly began coming up with my own version of cooking, which I dubbed "Lex-Mex." I love the "anything-goes" fusion style philosophy behind Tex-Mex cooking. It's incredibly fresh and flavorful, and it leaves plenty of room for creativity. In our neighborhood, we recently came up with a silly take on "block parties," which we've re-interpreted as "guac parties." We bring loads of chips, grill burgers, and each house whips up a bowl of their signature guacamole recipe. I never knew there could be so many different takes on guacamole, and we taste-test until the bowls are practically licked clean! This is a great local all-American burger because, after all, what's more All-American than a block party cookout and a burger that fuses ethnic cooking with regional traditions? The Lexington spin on the burger is the bacon and green chile pimiento cheese, a Southwestern take on a classic Southern cheese spread.

Ingredients 

Guacamole
2 ripe avocados, pitted
¼ cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin

Bacon, Green Chile & Chihuahua Pimiento Cheese
6 slices bacon, finely diced
2 cups Chihuahua cheese, grated
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies
¼ cup of jarred pimientos, drained and diced
1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Patties
2 lbs. freshly ground chuck
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili lime salt (recommended: Cholula chili lime seasoning)

Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
6 good quality hamburger buns, split
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat.

To make guacamole, combine avocado, red onion, cilantro, tomato, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cumin. Mash with the back of a spoon until creamy and well combined. Cover and refrigerate.
In a large sauté pan set over the grill, cook bacon until brown and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove and drain on paper towels. Put Chihuahua cheese, mayonnaise, green chilies, pimientos, Tabasco sauce, and drained bacon in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Cover and set aside.
Combine chuck, jalapeños, garlic, and chili lime salt in a large bowl. Mix gently to combine and divide mixture into 6 patties. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on grill and cook, turning once, approximately 5-7 minutes per side for medium, or until desired doneness.
Place hamburger buns, cut side down, on outer edges of grill rack to lightly toast and crisp for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from grill and spread each bun bottom liberally with pimiento cheese mixture. Replace bun bottoms on grill briefly, spread sides up, to warm mixture and melt cheese.
To assemble, place burger patties on top of bun bottoms. Top with a mound of shredded lettuce, and a scoop of guacamole. Add bun tops and enjoy!

Comments 

I used chili lime salt, a popular condiment found in the spice aisle at the grocery store, to season my burgers. If it can't be found, a combination of equal parts of chili powder, lime zest, salt, and garlic powder can be substituted. If you can't find Chihuahua cheese in your local market or Mexican grocer, the more widely available Asadero cheese is a fine substitute. Even Monterrey Jack or pepper jack make great alternatives.