Cal-Italia-Mexicali Burgers (a.k.a. Firecracker Rub Bacon Burgers with Black-Olive Pepper Relish and Paprika Aioli

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


Firecracker Rub
1/2 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

12 slices thick cut pepper bacon


3 ounces hot mexican chorizo
2 lbs ground chuck
3/4 cup drained and chopped sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
1/2 cup grated onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2 tsp McCOrmick Santa Fe Seasoning

Black -Olive Pepper Relish
1 Anahein green chile, mild
2 red peppers
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives,pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin oilve oil, plus more for dredging pepper and chile
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Paprika Aioli

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish Paprika
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons extra virgin oilve oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
6 High Quality ciabatta buns
6 round slices provolone cheese
3 cups watercress


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the Firecracker Rub: Combine cumin seeds, coriander seeds and whole black peppercorns in a medium fire proof skillet, preferably cast iron. Toast over hot grill just until aromatic. Remove immediately and process in a spice grinder to a fine powder-like consistency. Remove from grinder, add cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside.

Heat the same fire proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Set aside.

To make the patties: Combine mexkcan chorizo, ground chuck, sundried tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, and McCormick Santa Fe seasoning and Fire Cracker Rub. Combine well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form into 6 paties, cover with foil and refrigerate untiil ready to grill. Set aside.

To make Black-Olive Pepper Relish: Sprinkle green chile and red peppers with extra-virgin oil. Grill over hot grill unitl skin is blackened. Remove from grill and set aside until cool for easier handling. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, seeds and dice. Combine chile, peppers, olives, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and basil. Toss to combine and coat. Season with salt and freshly ground balck pepper. Set aside.

To make the Paprika Aioli: Combine sour cream mayonaise, lime juice, Spanish paprika and garlic clove in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in extra-virgon olive oil, until aioli is blended thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside

.Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook turning once 5-7 minutes per side and fully cooked. Place the provolone cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minurtes of grilling. Place buns cut side down on the outer edges of the rack to tost lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers: Spread equal portions of the paprika aioli on each bun bottom. Followed by cheese topped patty, 2 bacon slices and an equal portion of black olive relish and watercress, add the bun top and serve: Enjoy!

Makes 6 delicious burgers

Suggested wine: Zinfandel