Grand Canyon Smoky Cheeseburgers with Pan Roasted Pine Nut and Mushroom Slather and Avocado Mayonnaise

Pairs well with:


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


For Hamburger Patties:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds ground chuck
For Mayonnaise:
½ cup homemade or good store-bought mayonnaise
1 ripe, but firm California Avocado, pitted, peeled and diced into ½” dice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped fine
For Pine Nut and Mushroom Slather:
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 oz (2 – 6oz pre-packaged cartons) sliced button mushrooms
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped fine
Other ingredients:
3 – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil to brush on the grill rack
12 oz. Smoked Gouda Cheese, sliced thin and divided into 6 equal portions
6 good quality hamburger buns with some “chew”, but not too tough, split
3 cups red lettuce leaves, washed, patted dry, and roughly chopped and divided into 6 equal portions



1. Preheat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill with a lid.
2. Combine the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, pepper, and salt in small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this mixture and set aside. Place the ground chuck into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining spice mixture and mix well with a light hand, being careful not to compact the meat. Shape into 6 patties that will fit the hamburger buns. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
3. Make the mayonnaise by combining mayonnaise, avocado, lemon peel, cilantro, and shallots in a small mixing bowl, stirring well to incorporate all ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.
4. Heat a large, heavy, flame-proof skillet on the preheated grill for a couple of minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and arrange into one layer. Do not stir or move the mushrooms until you see the edges brown. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top of mushrooms. Using tongs or shaking the pan, flip the mushrooms to other side to brown. Drizzle the soy sauce over mushrooms and add the pine nuts and reserved 1 tablespoon of spice mixture. Shake or stir the mixture, being careful not to burn the nuts…they will be golden brown when done. Remove pan from grill and stir in cilantro.
5. Transfer pine nut/mushroom mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse several times until mixture is well-blended, but retaining a coarse texture. Cover processor bowl or blender and set aside until ready to assemble burgers.
6. Brush preheated grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the hamburger patties on the rack, cover and cook, flipping the burgers once, until done to preference, about 5-6 minutes per side for medium. During the last two minutes of cooking, uncover, and place the slices of cheese on top of burgers. Place the cut side of buns on the edges of the grill to lightly grill and warm after placing slices of cheese on burgers. Cover grill until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
7. To assemble the burgers, spread equal amounts of the mayonnaise over the cut side of the bun tops. Slather the pine nut/mushroom mixture over the cut side of the bun bottoms, followed by equal amounts of lettuce and a hamburger patty. Add the bun top and serve.