If you like Mexican food, or really American Southwestern food, this chorizo burger is for you.
A mash-up of border cuisines, the burger itself is the star, loaded with flavor and super easy to make at home — but there are a few tricks you need to know first.
I experimented with a wide variety of different ways to make a chorizo burger, ranging from 100 percent chorizo to different types of chorizo to smaller proportions of the spicy sausage.
For starters, you cannot use Spanish chorizo for this recipe; it’s a dry cured salami, basically, and won’t work. You need fresh chorizo for a chorizo burger. Mexican chorizo is what most people will work with, but freshly made chorizo Argentino is excellent, too. Even green chorizo works, and is a fun change of pace.
Let’s assume for a moment that you are not using your own, homemade chorizo. It will be better if you do, but I know that’s asking a lot for a simple chorizo burger.
OK. Store-bought Mexican chorizo. If you are using the stuff in the tube, which is the most widely available form of Mexican chorizo, know that it is very wet and will not form patties all by itself. And even chorizo you buy freshly made from a carniceria will be too loose to go 100 percent chorizo.
After experimenting, I find that about 1/4 to 1/3 supermarket chorizo to ground beef or venison is about right. You can go as high as 1/2 chorizo if you use the freshly made stuff from the MexiMart, because it will hold its shape better.
Also, since chorizo is both finely ground and fatty, I prefer to use fairly lean and also finely ground beef, bison or venison. This is a great use for that venison burger with no added fat you might have in your freezer. If you are buying ground beef to go with this, go with the 10 percent fat variety if you can find it. Don’t go too much higher or your chorizo burger will be a fat bomb.
Making a chorizo burger is as easy as mixing the two meats and making patties. You can make them as regular homemade burgers, which is what I do when grilling, or as smashburgers if you are cooking inside. If you happen to have a comal, use that because it’s easier to slide the patty off the iron with no sides that it is when using a frying pan. But both work.
To make a proper smashburger, you need another heavy pan or a bacon press to squash the patty. Just have one or the other handy.
Now, on to toppings. They are, of course, up to you. But I really like the combination you see in the pictures. Lettuce, or in my case sorrel leaves from the garden, slabs of roasted green Hatch chiles, pepper jack cheese, and a special mayo. Chopped, caramelized onions are a really good addition, too.
You make the mayo by putting fresh cilantro, mayonnaise and some more roasted green chiles in a blender. Puree and add salt to taste.
So yeah, this is a pretty decadent chorizo burger. But it’s totally worth it.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, minced
- 4 to 8 roasted green chiles, Hatch, Anaheim or poblano
- 4 burger buns
- 4 slices pepper jack cheese
- Lettuce leaves
- 1 pound ground venison, or beef, turkey, bison, etc.
- 1/3 pound chorizo, only 1/4 pound if it's the stuff in a tube
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 roasted green chiles
- Salt to taste
- Start by heating the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced onion and let this cook, stirring often, until the onion has nicely browned. Turn off the heat and set aside when it's ready.
- If you are starting from fresh peppers, you will need to roast, peel and deseed them. This is a good tutorial on that, or you can use canned or pre-frozen roasted chiles.
- Add all the ingredients for the mayo and puree. Add salt to taste. You will have some left over, so keep it in a container in the fridge, where it will last a couple weeks.
- Mix the ground meats together and knead well so they combine cohesively. Form into balls and slightly flatten them. If you are grilling, just form normal patties and grill. What follows is for a smashburger.
- Get a comal or griddle or large frying pan hot. Add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Set one of the balls of meat in the center of the oil, and use it to spread the oil around a little. Slick the underside of a bacon press or other pan with some oil. Press the meat into a patty of about 1/2 inch thick, more or less. Hold the pressure for about 30 seconds, then slide the bacon press off the patty to the side. Don't lift straight up or the patty will break. Salt the patty as it cooks.
- Let the meat cook for about 90 seconds more, then flip. Salt the other side. Add some onions to the middle of the patty and top with a slice of cheese. I like to put a metal bowl over the burger now to melt the cheese. Let this sit for another minute to 2 minutes, depending on how well cooked you like your burgers. While this is happening, lay the lettuce leaves on your buns and top with a little of the mayo.
- To build the burger, set the patty on the bun, then top with some of the roasted chiles and some more mayo. Serve at once. You can also layer like this: patty, onions, green chiles, then cheese. The greenery always touches the bun, and the mayo or other sauce goes on between lettuce and burger. °
I made a rendition of this (read not all ingredients on hand) and it was an indulgent, spicy hit in my home. Tots and broccoli on the side.
If you like spicy and burgers, it’s for you. Muah!
Matt N. says
Thanks for another great recipe Shank Shaw! Best burger I have had this year and maybe 8/10 best ever. It is an involved recipe for a burger especially if you don’t have pre-roasted hatch chilies. Definitely, not kosher since my chorizo was made with deer and pork and the ground elk was cut with beef fat.
The topping peppers I left as a one sided slab and the peppers in the mayo were diced beforehand. Made it as smashed burger on a cast iron skillet using a heavy spatula and wooden spoon. The metal bowl on top was a great tool to melt the cheese. Layered it bun, burger, onion, slab of pepper, cheese, lettuce, mayo, and the top bun. The mayo was really simple, next time and I will make this burger a next time, I will add some smoked paprika to it. Served with a side salad.
My butcher makes a Chorizo Verde that immediately came to mind reading this. Got him to grind into his brisket burger on the last grind. Added a squeeze of lime juice to mayo. Used arugula instead of lettuce. Knees buckled!
I told my butcher if it worked he would have to give me a commission on all the burgers he sold. Guess I will have to kick some up to you!
Made these last night using Hanks’ recipe for chorizo (I always make about 15 lbs a year for chili and tacos) and used a 1:1 ratio with the burger. They turned out great. Don’t skip the sauce – it really makes the burgers next level. Thanks again, Hank!
I’m going to try this recipe this weekend, it sounds fantastic. Just a quick question about freezing roasted peppers. Have any advice about the pros or cons of vacuum sealing the peppers after roasting for the freezer?
Hank Shaw says
Bruce: I don’t know that there are any cons… I do that every year!
Great idea all around. We always have pepper jack and Anaheims on hand. Plus, I recently made and froze a batch of homemade chorizo, so I’m ready to go with this one! A few slices of avocado should ice the cake. Thanks for the inspiration, Hank!
Gene Schenk says
Hank, you’re the man. I commend you on your hunter,gatherer, and culinary expertise. Living in Northern California we have lots of opportunities for wild game, but I had no idea about the wild mint and other herbs available. I enjoy your recipes and looking forward to getting your cook book.
Mr Shaw, Hank if I may?
Do you have a recipe to share for homemade chorizo? I have a freezer full of blackbuck and oryx I’d like to try with various recipes. Thank you for your assistance.
Hank Shaw says
Kurt: There are three hotlinks to my recipes in this post. Scroll up.
Tad Einloth says
Another great recipe Hank!
Will be trying it on the grill this weekend.