Thursday, August 06, 2009

Burgers with a swanky sauce

Have a hankerin' for a burger that is just outside of the box, but not too far that it doesn't even resemble one? That was Jeff's request when I asked him if he had any cravings as I was busy menu planning. I had a few laid out, trying to narrow it down to one, when I came across these Beef Burgers with Peanut-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce and my choice was easy!

A from-scratch intense barbecue sauce is used in these, but I do have a forewarning. Following the recipe as listed, you will end up with way more than you'll use for four burgers - this worked in our favor, but I know not everyone is a fan of leftover condiments. Think about halving just the sauce recipe if you would rather not have extra. Onions, fresh ginger and a couple cloves worth of minced garlic, heated in oil, gave us a running start before we added tomato puree, ketchup, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Also included for a complex sweetness is honey and molasses, along with ancho chile powder for a respectable smokiness and a minced chipotle in adobo for heat.

Thinned out with water, the sauce is left to simmer on the stove until it starts to tighten up, concentrating the flavors and giving it body.To blend in a couple creamy spoonfuls of peanut butter, along with making a velvety smooth sauce, the two are whizzed together in a food processor - if you have one of those handy immersion blenders, that would do a fine job too (and less to clean up afterwards!). The peanut butter doesn't make the sauce taste like peanuts, but after giving it a quick taste before adding it, we found the added fat from the nuts rounded off some of the sharper notes with a rich tone, making for a more harmonious barbecue sauce.

Keeping the meat of this burger clean and simple, we used an even ratio of beef chuck and sirloin, seasoning the formed patties with just salt and fresh ground black pepper. If you fancy a fattier burger, by all means, go with all chuck - I just find we like this combo together. Grilled until the burgers were almost to our liking, we took a portion of the homemade barbecue sauce and gave the patties a good glazing. We hit the burgers with a handful of sharp white cheddar when there was just a few seconds left to give it enough time to begin melting down.

Before placing the patties on our homemade buns, toasted of course, we slathered a bit of that racy sauce on each side first, added a couple pieces of lettuce to the bottom bun and then laid a thickly sliced tomato to be crowned by the burgers. You'll want to have a napkin handy because these were pretty messy to eat, but when you get that explosion of sweet and smoky flavors in your mouth, backed by a juicy all-beef patty, keeping myself clean was not even close to being on my radar. Spicy enough that when I licked my lips they were left with a tingle, yet not enough that it blew our heads off and left our tongues ablaze, I decided this burger wasn't going to leave my paw until it was completely demolished... sides could wait! While I wouldn't go so far as saying I'd eat the barbecue sauce with a spoon, I did find myself taking a few too many taste tests - needless to say, I am thankful there was extra sauce as we are looking forward to plastering it over grilled chicken or pork in the near future!


  1. Mouthwatering Joe. I have to start making my buns. Yours look to good.

  2. The sauce looks to be packed with flavors! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

  3. Hi Joe,
    I have a question about the buns. When you make them, do you freeze a bunch or are you making tiny batches? Or maybe you eat a LOT of burgers?


  4. Helene - Yes, you do! So worth it.

    Karine - It definitely grabs your attention!

    Colleency - Yes, I freeze them. Once baked and cooled, I like to slice them and then freeze - they take minutes to thaw and are just as good as fresh!