Jalapeño-Cheddar Burgers with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing

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Yesterday I posted my all-time favorite gourmet hamburger recipe (that I could seriously eat every single day, they’re that good!), but let’s pretend for a moment that bacon and blue cheese aren’t your thing. No biggie. I get that some people have a problem with “stinky cheese,” as my mom refers to it. Okay, so maybe you’re looking for a burger that’s a little less fancy and a lot more folksy. In that case, kick the mud off your cowboy boots and try on this spicy Tex-Mex burger for size.

Jalapeño-Cheddar Burgers with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing

Serves 4

FOR THE BURGERS

  • 2 lbs. ground meat (beef, lamb, bison, pork, chicken, turkey – or a combination of 2 or 3)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (1 tsp per pound of meat)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (½ tsp per pound)
  • 1 tsp horseradish (½ tsp per pound)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (½ tsp per pound)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño (stem, seeds, and ribs removed), finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems only), finely chopped (½ Tbsp per pound)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (¼ tsp per pound)
  • 2 green onions, diced (1 onion per pound)
  • 4 thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese for serving
  • 8 slices of avocado (from about 1-1½ avocados) for serving
  • 4 good quality, large hamburger buns for serving

FOR THE CHIPOTLE-LIME RANCH DRESSING

  • ½ cup sour cream (light or regular)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (light or regular)
  • 1 tsp jarred or canned diced chipotle peppers
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems only), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp agave syrup (or honey)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
  • ⅛ tsp onion powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

*Alternatively you can use ¾ cup pre-made Ranch dressing and blend it in a food processor with the chipotle pepper, lime juice, and smoked paprika until smooth.  (This dressing is from my Southwest Steak Chopped Salad recipe.)

PREPARE THE BURGERS

In a large bowl, combine ground meat(s) with all seasonings, mixing until combined, making sure not to overwork the meat (which will make it tough).IMG_8625

Divide meat into 4 mounds, rolling each mound into a ball. Flatten each ball to about an inch thickness, then using your thumb, press a divot into the center of the patty. This will keep the finished burgers nice and flat instead of round on top.IMG_8621

Generously oil the grate of an outdoor grill and prepare for high-direct heat. Once the internal temperature reaches 450°F, place patties directly over heat source and cook, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes. Flip patties and cook for another 4-5 minutes on the second side for medium (2-3 minutes longer if you want them cooked through). Do not, I repeat, DO NOT press down on the burgers while they are cooking, otherwise you’ll lose all the juices to the fire and the meat will dry out – I can’t stress this point enough! Top each burger with a slice of cheese, and close the lid of the BBQ until cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

PREPARE THE DRESSING

In a small food processor or blender, mix all ingredients until smooth. Dressing should be covered and can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.IMG_8570

ASSEMBLE THE BURGERS

While the hamburgers are resting, turn grill down to low and toast buns until slightly golden. Slather Ranch dressing on the inside of the top-half of each toasted bun. To the bottom bun, add the burger and top each with 2 slices of avocado, then cover with the top-half of the bun.

A can of light beer may be required to wash everything down.

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