Ranch Hand Taco Burger

Pairs well with:


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


2 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper sauce
2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (Mesquite)
1/4 + 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
6 ounces pepper jack cheese (from an 8 ounce block)
1 large (or 2 medium) tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1/2 Tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 of one ripe Hass avocado
1/4 cup cilantro stems removed & chopped
3 pita rounds (7”) separated into 6 pockets
12 leaves of Butter or Bibb lettuce



Gently mix together the ground meat, 2 tablespoons of Chipotle pepper sauce, 2 teaspoons of garlic salt and the liquid smoke. Cut six 1” cubes from the block of cheese. Roll the meat into 6 round balls of equal size. Tuck one cube of cheese into the center of each and then flatten the meat around the cheese into 4-41/2” patties. When the grill is ready, using 1/4 cup of the ranch dressing baste both sides of each patty, and grill covered, turning once for 5-8 minutes per side or until done according to personal preference. While the patties are grilling, mix together in a small sauce pan and gently heat the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, ketchup, 1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and lime juice. Dice enough of the remaining cheese to make 1/2 cup. Peel and cut into small pieces the avocado. During the final minutes of grilling add the cheese, avocado and cilantro to the warm tomato salsa. When the patties are done, move them away from the direct heat on the grill and lightly toast the pita pockets. To assemble the burgers, place two lettuce leaves in each pita pocket. Slide the burgers in. Spoon the warm salsa over the burgers and into the pockets and drizzle with the remaining Ranch dressing. Makes 6