MESA VERDE BACON-AVOCADO BURGER
Grilled corn, range-raised beef, and smoky roasted chiles are all staples of the Four Corners region in the Southwest and a part of its cultural heritage. One of the many attractions of this region is Mesa Verde (literally green table) National Park, an archeological wonderland that includes the ancient cliffside dwellings of the Anasazi Indians. This burger riffs on the ingredients those early dwellers lived on. Sweet, caramelized corn complements the chile-spiced ground beef. The fiery grilled onions and green chiles pair with bacon and avocado to complete this southwestern spin on an American classic. Try it with a chilled glass of Sutter Home White Zinfandel or Sutter Home Zinfandel.
1 ear of corn, husk removed
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
2 tablespoons red chile powder, preferably New Mexico
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 poblano chiles
2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
3/4 cup high quality barbecue sauce, such as Stubbs or Sweet Baby Ray’s
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 slices bacon
Olive oil for brushing the grill
6 1/4-inch-thick extra sharp cheddar cheese slices, about 12 ounces total
12 slices avocado
6 soft Kaiser rolls (about 4 1/2 inches in diameter), split
Preheat a gas grill to medium heat (about 300°F).
Place corn on grill over indirect heat and cook until the kernels begin to brown and carmelize, about 10 minutes, turning as needed to cook evenly. Transfer corn to a cutting board and when cool to the touch, cut the kernels away from the cob and set aside.
Combine the ground beef, chile powder, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add corn and mix gently using your hands. Shape into 6 equal-size patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Transfer to a platter and cover with plastic wrap.
For mayonnaise, seed chipotle chile, then chop fine to a pulp. Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper. Crush garlic with garlic press (or mince finely) and add to mayonnaise. Stir in chipotles and cilantro and set aside.
Put the poblanos on the grill over direct heat. Cook poblanos until the skins are blackened all over, about 10 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer poblanos to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place in a paper bag.
For onions, seed and finely mince the chipotle chiles to a pulp, then combine with the barbecue in a small bowl. Brush the onion slices with olive oil on both sides and place on the grill over direct heat. Cook until the onions begin to turn brown, about 4 minutes. Turn, brush the tops with barbecue sauce mixture, and cook the other side until browned and carmelized, about 4 minutes. Turn again, brush more sauce on other side, cook about 1 minute more. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside, reserve remaining barbecue sauce.
Increase the heat of the grill to medium-high heat (400°F).
Peel, stem and deseed the poblanos. Chop and add to the onions. Add 2 tablespoons reserved barbecue sauce to the mixture and toss to coat evenly.
Place 12-inch stainless-steel skillet on grill, fry bacon in batches until desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for crisp. Drain on paper towels and tent with foil to keep warm.
Put the burgers on the grill over direct heat, brush tops with remaining barbecue sauce, cover and cook until browned on the outside, about 4 minutes. Turn, brush barbecue sauce on top, add one slice of cheese to each burger, and cook about 3 minutes more for medium rare or until desired doneness. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
Put buns on the grill, cut-side down over indirect heat and toast lightly, about 1 minute. Transfer buns to a flat surface and spread each half with lime mayonnaise. Assemble burgers with onion/chile mixture on bottom half, followed by the burger, 2 slices bacon and 2 slices of avocado. Place remaining half of roll over burger and serve immediately.