Mexicali Cantina Burgers with Chili Corn Crisps, Grilled Avocado Salsa and Honey Jalapeno Bacon

Pairs well with:


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

I love to take ordinary flavor combinations and ingredients and make them extraordinary!My family loves the taste of Southwestern cuisine, so I took those profiles and created this fantastic, innovative burger. The layers of flavors and textures really compliment each other perfectly in this burger that is sure to make you tastebuds start to salsa from the first bite!


Chili Corn Crisps:

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

6 corn tortillas (5-6 inches in diameter each)

vegetable oil to fill a large skillet to a 3/4 inch depth

Honey Jalapeno Bacon:

18 slices thick cut bacon

3 tablespoons honey

1 large jalapeno pepper, finely minced (include seeds)

Grilled Avocado Salsa:

vegetable oil to wipe on grill rack

8-1/4 inch thick red onion slices, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter

2 large, ripe, but firm hass avocados

11/4 cups diced grape tomatoes

1 large jalapeno, minced (include seeds)

juice of 1 lime

finely grated zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon honey

3/4 teaspoon salt


2 pounds ground beef chuck

5 ounces ground chorizo Mexican pork sausage-the soft variety

1/2 cup chopped, drained oil packed sundried tomatoes

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

vegetable oil to wipe on grill rack

12 ounces smoked medium cheddar cheese, thinly sliced-I used Tillamook

6 corn dusted kaiser rolls, split

3 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce


Heat a gas grill to medium high heat.

To make the chili corn crisps, stir chili powder, salt, and garlic powder together in a small ramekin. Slice the tortillas in half. Cut each half crosswise into 1/4 inch strips. Pour oil to a depth of 3/4 inch in a large skillet with higher sides and place on grill rack or side burner of grill over medium heat, if available. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Add tortilla strips and cook until crispy, turning as necessary, about 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels and sprinkle hot crisps with spice mixture. Cook in batches as necessary.

To make the honey jalapeno bacon, place 6 slices bacon in a large non stick skillet and place on grill rack or side burner of grill over medium heat, if available. Cook bacon until crispy. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey. Cook additional minute until bacon is coated with honey. Remove to aluminum foil sheets and sprinkle evenly with jalapeno. Repeat with remaining bacon, honey, and jalapeno in batches, discarding remaining bacon grease in skillet and wiping out with paper towel as necessary, before cooking remaining bacon.

To make the grilled avocado salsa, wipe grill rack with oil. Place onion slices on grill rack (use a grill pan on grill rack if desired). Cook 3-4 minutes, turning once, until onions are limp and have deep grill marks. Dice 3 onion slices and place in a medium mixing bowl. Chop remaining onion slices and reserve for patties. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and use a spoon to remove avocado from skin in 1 piece. Place on grill rack, cut side down for about 2 minutes or until deep grill marks form. Dice avocados and place in bowl with onions, tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice, lime zest, honey and salt. Toss together gently.

To make the patties, in a large mixing bowl place reserved onions, ground beef, chorizo, sundried tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Mix thoroughly, but gently with a spoon. Form mixture into 6 patties, taking care not to compact meat.

Wipe the grill rack with oil. Place patties on grill rack. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook additional 3-4 minutes or until done to medium. Place cheese on each patty during last few minutes of cooking. Place rolls, cut side down, on grill rack during last few minutes of cooking to toast and warm.

To serve, place lettuce on roll bottoms. Top each with a portion of bacon, salsa, cheese covered patty, chili corn crisps, and roll tops. Serve.

Yield: 6 burgers