Mesquite-Smoked Chipotle Queso Burger with Grilled Guacamole


Mesquite wood chips (about 1 to 2 cups, depending on size of smoker box)
Smoker box for a gas grill

Grilled Guacamole:
1 ear fresh corn, in the husk
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
2 tomatillos, outer husk removed and sliced in halves
2 avocados, sliced in half, lengthwise, and pits removed
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled (also used in Patties)
1-1/2 tablespoon red onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt (also used in Patties)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (also used in Patties)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon cilantro, leaves only
1 chipotle chile (from can of chipotles in adobo sauce) (*see note)

Chipotle Queso:
8-ounce loaf process cheese spread (Velveeta), chopped into chunks
1 chipotle chile, chopped fine, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo sauce) (also used in the Patties) *see note
1/2 cup mild salsa fresca (fresh salsa)

2 pounds fresh ground sirloin
2 teaspoons salt (also used in Grilled Guacamole)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (also used in Grilled Guacamole)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic – minced (also used in Grilled Guacamole)
1/4 cup Sutter Home Syrah

Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
6 bakery-baked Kaiser rolls, split
1-1/2 cup shredded lettuce



Place wood chips in a large bowl and add enough water to cover the wood chips. Allow wood chips to soak in the water 30 minutes. This prevents the wood chips for catching on fire. Drain the water off the wood chips and place the wood chips in the smoker box. Remove the grill grates and place the smoker box directly on the heating elements of the grill, below the grates. Replace the grates and preheat the gas grill to medium-high, approximately 400 degrees.

To make the Grilled Guacamole, begin by pulling back, but not removing, the husks on the ear of corn. Remove the corn silks, then pull the husk back up around the ear of corn. Immerse the ear of corn in a pan of water. Remove from the water and place the corn, in the husk, on the grill rack over direct heat. Cook, covered, approximately 15 minutes, or until kernels are soft, turning occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the husks, and any remaining corn silk, from the ear of corn. Using a paring knife, cut down each side of the ear to remove the kernels. Set aside until needed.

While the corn is grilling, brush the pre-heated grill rack with vegetable oil and place the tomatillo halves and avocado halves (skin side up) over direct heat and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until heated and slight charring occurs.

Transfer the tomatillos to a food processor. Add the 2 cloves garlic, red onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 black pepper, lime juice, cilantro and chipotle chile to the food processor. Pulse 5 to 10 seconds, then scoop the avocado halves out of the peel and transfer the flesh to the food processor. Pulse another 5 to 10 seconds, or until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, fold in the corn kernels, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until needed.

To make the Chipotle Queso, place a 2-quart fireproof pan, with a lid, on the grill rack, over direct heat. Add the chunks of process cheese spread, chipotle chile, adobo sauce and salsa fresca to the pan, and cook until cheese is melted and ingredients combined, about 3 to 5 minutes; stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from heat, cover and set aside until needed

To make the patties, combine the ground sirloin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic, and Sutter Home Syrah in a large bowl. Mix well, while handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.

Brush the pre-heated grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, around the smoker box, cover, and cook each side 4 to 6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. when tested with a quick-read thermometer. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous portion of the Grilled Guacamole, followed by ¼ cup shredded lettuce, then a patty on the cut side of each roll bottom. Top each patty with a generous portion of the Chipotle Queso. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers