South of the Border Beef Burgers with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Pairs well with:


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


1 medium sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. coarse ground black pepper
1/8 t. mesquite flavor liquid smoke
½ pound Mexican pork chorizo (casings removed)
1 ½ pounds 80/20 Angus ground beef
3 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise
6 oz. queso blanco (quesadilla cheese)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
½ medium red onion, finely diced
2 large jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped
½ bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1 large California avocado, diced
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
¼ cup butter, softened
6 bolillo rolls (spindle rolls), split



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Place onion and garlic in a food processor and blend into a paste form. To make the patties, combine the, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, and chorizo in a large bowl and mix well. Then add ground beef to the mixture handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it and mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into oblong patties to fit the rolls. Place poblano pepper halves skin side down on non-stick aluminum foil. Place a one ounce slice of queso blanco inside the “cup” of each pepper. Set aside. To prepare the avocado pico de gallo combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro in a medium sized bowl. Mix well. Then add diced avocado and mix gently. Set aside. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties and sheet of aluminum foil with peppers on the rack, cover, and cook, turning patties once, just until the juices run clear when the patties are pierced in the center, about 5 minutes on each side. During the last few minutes of cooking, spread butter on the insides of the rolls and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. When the patties are cooked, remove from the grill, stacking to keep warm. Remove peppers from grill simultaneously. To assemble the burgers, place a poblano pepper cheese side down of the bottom halves of the rolls. Peel away and discard skins from peppers. Then place patties on top of peppers. Spoon 1/6 of pico de gallo over each patty. Add the roll top and serve. Makes 6 burgers