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Maui Paniolo Burger with Cool Chili Sour Cream Sauce

Aloha! Believe it or not, Hawaii has traditional Mexican cowboys. These Hawaiian gauchos are are called Paniolo. In fact, there is a well known hula dance called Ulupalakua celebrating these cattlemen. This burger incorporates traditional mexican flavors of cumin and cilantro with the sweet Maui onion creating a burger paradise! Your taste buds will think they have gone on an exotic vacation as they bite into the flavors of hot pepper Jack Cheese, Beefsteak tomato and a delicious cool chili sour cream sauce.


2 t. salt
2t. chili powder
1 t. oregano
1 t. ground cumin
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 ½ lbs. freshly ground 24 percent fat ground beef
6 thin slices of hot pepper jack cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
6 burger-sized pieces of romaine lettuce
1 cup of Maui Sweet Onion, finely chopped
¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
6 slices of Beefsteak tomato
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 hamburger buns


Instructions: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high. To make the seasoning mixture combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: 2 t. salt 2 t. chili powder 1 t. oregano 1 t. ground cumin 1 crushed clove of garlic Set this mixture aside. Place 1 ½ lbs. freshly ground 24 percent fat ground beef into a medium sized bowl. Add half of the seasoning mixture to the ground beef and mix well being sure to incorporate the seasonings throughout the meat. Divide the meat into 6 equal sized pieces and roll into uniform balls using your hands. Flatten the balls into patties using a 3” patty maker. Indent each patty with back of a spoon. Set the patties aside until ready to grill. Slice 6 slices of hot pepper jack cheese. Set aside. In a small bowl mix 3/4 c. sour cream and the rest of the seasoning mixture and set aside. Wash, dry and set aside 6 burger-sized pieces of romaine lettuce. In a small bowl place 1 cup finely Maui Sweet Onion. Add ¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Wash and slice 6 slices of Beefsteak tomato. Set aside. Grilling instructions: Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack and cook for 3 minutes. Flip over and cook until almost done, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the cheese slices on top of patties and cover grill until cheese is melted. Toast the buns on the grill for a few seconds. Assemble the burger: Spread the sour cream mixture on both the top and bottom buns. Put the patty on the bottom bun and top with the following ingredients in order: Romaine lettuce leaf Maui onion/cilantro mixture Tomato Top with the top bun. Serve immediately.


If I am selected to come to Napa to compete for the Build A Better Burger Contest I will happily perform Ulupalakua, the Paniolo hula, for everyone in attendance!