RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Santa Fe Smokehouse Special

Although I prefer natural lump charcoal for its smokey flavor, there are times when I need to fire up the gas grill for convenience sake. This recipe replaces the smokey flavor of wood that is lost when cooking without charcoal. It uses smoked bacon, mesquite seasoning, smoked jalapenos and smoked Gouda cheese. Pickled prickly pear cactus is used instead of pickles as it’s a native plant in the southwest and is found in many Mexican dishes.

Ingredients 

1 bulb of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound thick cut smoked bacon
1 (7) ounce can of chipotle in adobo
1/2 pound baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed
3 tablespoons Mesquite seasoning
---- Roasted red pepper Aioli ----
1 (12) ounce jar fire roasted red peppers in water, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2.5 pounds ground Angus sirloin
Olive oil for the grill rack
12 ounces smoked Gouda cheese
6 onion Rolls
2 ripe avocados
1 head radicchio
1 (16) ounce Jar pickled prickly pear cactus (pickled Nopales)
1 (12) ounce jar pickled jalapeno pepper “coins”

Instructions 

Preheat the grill so one side is at medium high heat and the other is at low heat. Cut off the top quarter of the garlic and place it on heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour the olive oil on top then wrap it completely in foil. Place the garlic on the low heat side of the grill where it will roast for about 45 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Place a large skillet over the hottest part of the grill and cook the bacon until crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set the bacon on paper towels to drain. Reserve the bacon fat for later use. While the bacon is cooking, puree the chipotle in adobo in a food processor. Set aside in a small bowl. It will be used in both the patties and the red pepper Aioli. Return the pan to the hot side of the grill. Slice the mushrooms into 3/8 inch squares. Oil the pan with 5 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat and cook the mushrooms about 4 minutes, stirring every minute. After 4 minutes add the Mesquite seasoning and 2 tablespoons of chipotle puree and continue cooking for about 4 minutes to allow the mushrooms to render out their water. Remove the mushrooms from heat and allow them to cool in a small bowl on ice. When the garlic bulb has cooled, squeeze it from the bottom to release the cooked cloves, discarding the papery skins. Mash up the cloves on a cutting board with the back side of a knife into a paste and set aside in a small bowl. This too will be added to both the patties and the Aioli. To make the Aioli, add half of the garlic paste to a food processor with 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle puree, the drained red peppers and mayonnaise. Process until completely pureed then empty into a medium bowl. Add all but 6 teaspoons of the cilantro to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside in a cool place. Add the ground meat to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked mushrooms. Mix carefully using your hands and try not to compress the meat. Form 6 evenly portioned patties from the mixture. With the grill at medium high heat, clean the grate with a wire brush. Brush the grate with olive oil to prevent sticking. Add the patties directly over medium high heat and cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes rotate the burgers 45 degrees and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Flip the burgers over and repeat the process of cooking for 2 minutes, rotate, then another 2. After a total of 8 minutes, remove the burgers from heat, place in a baking dish and cover the dish with foil. After the burgers have rested about 3 minutes, top the patties with 2 ounces of cheese and cover with the foil making sure the foil does not hit the cheese. During the final minutes of cooking toast the rolls on the grill until golden brown. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, discarding the pit. Use a large spoon to remove the flesh in 2 large pieces. Slice the large pieces into 6 pieces smaller pieces. Shred radicchio as you would for making coleslaw. The nopales come in long strips. Slice the strips up so you have 1/4 inch pieces. Each Burger will get about a tablespoon. To assemble the burgers, take the bottom part of the roll and spread a generous amount of roasted pepper sauce on the cut side. Top that with a tablespoon of nopales and 3 or 4 jalapeno “coins” then sprinkle some shredded radicchio on top. Place the cheese topped patty on top of that. Next, add enough bacon to cover the patty and top that off with avocado slices, again covering the patty. Top the avocado with a teaspoon of the reserved chopped cilantro. Take the top of the roll and spoon some of the aioli on the cut side as well as a little more radicchio. Then top the bottom of the burger with the top. Repeat for the other 5 burgers. Makes 6 burgers