Green-Chile Cheeseburgers from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling, 2011

A few weeks ago, Hubby, Dudette and I met some new friends for dinner. I don’t want to give away any names, but their meals are picture perfect. During the course of conversation, Adam happened to mention that every once in a while he gets a craving for a McDonald’s Big Mac. Here is a man who is a professional food photographer. His wife is an unbelievable cook as well as food stylist, yet he’s admitting to jonesing for the occasional fast food burger.

I admit to the same, but in my case it’s not a Big Mac, though Big Macs are the only thing I’ll eat at McDonald’s because the special sauce covers up the taste of the “meat.” My occasional yen is for a Whopper with Cheese. I understand that the whole flame-broiled thing is a joke, but I still like the burger.

Of course, it’s easy for me to talk about fast food burgers because they’re usually the only time I eat them. When I go to a restaurant, I rarely order a burger. And, when I grill, mixing up ground beef and throwing it between a bun isn’t as fun as smoking baby backs or perfectly barbecuing chicken to a crisp, caramelly glaze.

But, lunch time rolled around and we, including Dudette’s friend Haley, were hungry. I had ground chuck in the fridge and earlier that morning had been at the garden and picked a nice variety of peppers. Perfect for Cook’s Illustrated’s Green-Chili Cheeseburgers. The fact that putting together the burgers took less time than heating the charcoal was an added bonus.

The Process
This is short and sweet, so don’t blink. Grill prepared Anaheim and jalapeno chiles and onion. Then, in a food processor, pulse the charred chiles, onion and a garlic clove until they are just little chunks. Remove the mixture to a bowl. Return a quarter cup of the mixture to the food processor and let ‘er rip until it’s finely chopped.

Add the finely chopped vegetables to the beef with salt and pepper and mix it all together. Form patties. How’s that for easy?

To cook them, make sure that one side is a little concave and cook that side down first, for about 3 minutes. When that side is done, flip the burger, put some of the chopped chile mixture in the hollow and cover it with a piece of cheese. Cover the grill and let it cook 3 minutes more (I like my burgers medium rare. If you like them done more….and you shouldn’t….cook them 2 minutes longer).

That’s it’ The burgers are ready to be put between rolls, condimented as desired and eaten.

The Verdict
Wow. These were fantastic. Hubby loved them and ate two, giving them a thumbs up even while stuffing his handsome face. Haley also had two and said they were awesome. Dudette thought they were really really good until she saw a bit of green in the meat (I gave her one without any chiles on top of the beef). She thought it me tricking her into eating zucchini so she refused to eat anymore and decided she didn’t like it. She’s a goob. I also thought they were excellent. I made my burgers a bit smaller than the 3/4 pounders the magazine recommended so I was able to get six out of the batch, not four. Even so, I still had plenty of the chile mixture left over and I plan to buy more ground chuck and make the burgers again. Soon.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
Even with three jalapenos, we didn’t feel any heat in the burgers, just the peppers’ flavor. I think I’d add another jalapeno to try and up the heat factor a bit, or leave in the seeds of one. I’m not sure if the fact that they were fresh from the garden affected the heat level. That’s about the only thing I’d do different though. These were excellent just as is.

Green-Chile Cheeseburgers
from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling 2011

3 Anaheim chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
3 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
4 slices deli American cheese (or mild Cheddar)
4 hamburger buns or rolls

Light a charcoal fire until hot. Clean the grate.

Grill the chiles and onion until charred and tender, 2-4 minutes per side. Remove the charred skin from the chiles and separate the onion into rings. Put the chiles, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped in small chunks. Set aside all but 1/4 cup in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Process the remaining 1/4 cup until finely chopped.

Add the finely chopped chile mixture to the ground beef along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and mix until well combined. Form the mixture into patties, creating an indent in the center of each.

Grill the burgers, divot side down 3-5 minutes, or until well browned. Flip the burgers. Add chopped chile mixture to each and cover with a piece of cheese. Grill for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns with condiments.

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