Cilantro Chimichurri Burgers with Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon and Roasted Poblano-Avocado Cream

Accolades 2011 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:


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


Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Aged Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 3 tablespoons pureéd canned chipotle chiles in adobo, preferably San Marcos brand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground chuck

Roasted Poblano-Avocado Cream

  • 1 largo poblano chile
  • 1 large Haas avocado, halved, peeled, and pitted
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon

  • 12 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • Vegetable oil, for rubbing on the grill rack
  • 12 ounces Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 good-quality onion rolls or sandwich rolls, split
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded romaine lettuce
  • 12 slices (about 1/4-inch-thick) tomato


Heat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the chimichurri, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Cover and set aside.

To make the patties, combine 1/2 cup of the chimichurri, the chiles, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chuck.  Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal-sized patties to fit the rolls. Use your thumb to press a slight indentation in the center of each patty; this allows a more uniform thickness when the patty is cooked. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until grilling.

To make the cream, roast the chile over direct heat on the grill rack, turning on all sides until completely charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Place the chile in a plastic bag, seal, and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, stem, and seeds. Transfer to a food processor. Add the avocado, crema, lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Place the bacon in a large, heavy fireproof skillet and cook on the grill. While the bacon is cooking, mix together the brown sugar and chile powders in a small bowl. Turn over the bacon slices when done on one side and sprinkle the top of each slice with the brown sugar mixture. Continue cooking until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then wrap in foil to keep warm.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook until done to preference, about 4 minutes per side for medium. During the last minute of cooking, place a cheese slice on each patty to melt.

Butter the cut side of the rolls followed by a light coating of chimichurri. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the cream on the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, add a layer of lettuce, 2 tomato slices, a cheese-topped patty, and 2 bacon slices. Drizzle with the remaining chimichurri, add the roll tops, and serve.