Hot Tamale Burger

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.

One of the first meals I learned to cook for my family, was mostly made up of burritos. I gradually learned to add to my repertoire, but our family always enjoyed my Mexican food skills.

Some of my fondest memories were those times when we had a bumper crop of tomatoes and my mom would make her delicious homemade salsa. She canned the salsa so that we could enjoy it all year. Having this on hand meant that we ate lots of really delicious Mexican food often. To this day, our favorite restaurant in nearly every major city we’ve either lived in or visited is a Mexican restaurant.

While living in Texas, I became especially fond of the homemade tamales that a local Hispanic woman made in her kitchen and brought to our school to sell (I’m an educator). Although it’s been several years since I last had one of those terrific homemade tamales, I haven’t forgotten how wonderful they tasted. My inspiration for these burgers came from the fond memories of my childhood, the delicious cooking of a local Hispanic woman in Texas, and the desire to eat Mexican food any time we go out to eat as a family. For these reasons, I believe my “Hot Tamale Burger” is a super illustration of a great local American burger.


Avocado Mayonnaise:

1 Avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 cup crushed corn chips (such as Fritos)
¾ cup beer
1 ½ lbs ground chuck
½ lb ground pork
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 onion rolls, split
6 slices pepper jack cheese
6 slices tomato


Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat.

Avocado Mayonnaise:

To make the avocado mayonnaise, combine the avocado, onion, mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor and blend until ingredients are smooth. Pour all ingredients in a bowl with a lid and chill until burgers are ready to prepare.


Using a food processor, crush corn chips. Chips are ready when they resemble coarse bread crumbs. Place chips in a medium sized bowl and add beer. Allow the chips to soak up the beer for 5 to 8 minutes. Combine the chips, the ground chuck, ground pork, tomato sauce, egg, onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Handle the meat as little as possible to keep from overworking it. Divide the mixture into six equal portions and form into patties approximately the same size as the bun.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with oil and place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference or 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of avocado mayonnaise over the top and bottom cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a slice of cheese, a patty, a lettuce leaf, and a tomato slice. Add the roll tops and serve.