Upscale Desert Burgers with Cilantro Tomatillo Cream Sauce and Sweet N’ Smoky Shoestring Onions

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.

Being a native to the Southwest, fresh and smoky ingredients are a must to my community.Cilantro, lime, chipotle, tomatillo, cumin and garlic incorporated in these burgers bring vibrant “desert style” flavors that are pleasing to everyone that still ring true to the Old Southwest. The mascarpone cheese in the cream sauce is my upscale touch that brings these burgers to a new level of classiness. If that wasn’t good enough, I’ve topped the burgers with crispy fried shoestring onions and beautiful fresh California Avocados! Let’s Build A Better Burger Southwest Style, Enjoy!


½ Cup sour cream
4 oz mascarpone cheese
¼ Cup mayonnaise
1 tomatillo, peeled and washed
½ Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 ½ lbs ground sirloin
2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves minced garlic
½ Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

Canola Oil for frying

Sweet N’ Smoky Shoestring Onions
1 large sweet onion, peeled, thinly sliced and separated
¾ Cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 ½ Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Vegetable oil for grill rack

6 slices medium Cheddar cheese, about ¼ inch thick

6 ciabatta rolls, split and lightly toasted
3 cups pre-washed bagged baby arugula, roughly torn
6 large tomato slices ¼ inch thick
12 California avocado slices
2 limes, split


1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat; cover lid .

2. To make cream sauce, place the sour cream, mascarpone, mayonnaise, tomatillo, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until just combined. Set aside.

3. To make patties, in a large bowl, combine the sirloin, Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, cilantro leaves and lime juice. With hands or large spoon gently bring all ingredients together. Form meat mixture into 6 ¾ inch patties. Set aside.

4. Place 2-3 inches of canola oil into a deep, large cast iron skillet over the hot grill. Heat to 375-400 degrees F with appropriate thermometer.

5. While oil is heating, Place thin onion slices into a large freezer size ziplock style bag. Pour in buttermilk and Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce; mix around to combine ingredients. Place flour, salt and pepper into a large shallow dish; stir to combine. Using tongs, transfer wet onions, shaking off excess buttermilk, into flour mixture. Toss to coat all surfaces in flour, then in batches, carefully drop breaded onions into hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes, moving onions around the whole frying time. Transfer all cooked onion strings to a paper towel lined baking sheet. Set aside.

6. When the fire is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on grill, cover, and cook for 4 minutes, until bottom is brown. With spatula, turn over patties, and cook an additional 4 minutes, or until done to your preference (internal temperature of 160 degrees F). During last few minutes of grilling patties, place a slice of cheddar cheese on each patty and place rolls, cut side down, on outer edges of grill to lightly toast.

7. To assemble the burgers, spread generous portions of Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce on cut sides of warm toasted rolls. Layer each ciabatta roll bottom with equal portions of arugula leaves, a burger, a tomato, equal portion of shoestring onions and 2 avocado slices lightly drizzled with a squeeze of lime juice. Add the ciabatta roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 large burgers