I prefer to use green Hatch chiles from New Mexico here, but any roasted green chile will work; Anaheims, poblanos or jalapenos are good alternatives. Don't know how to roast chiles? Here is a tutorial from my friend Elise at Simply Recipes. And any ground meat works well here, too.
4 to 8green chiles, such as Hatch, Poblano or Anaheim
1 1/4poundsground elk or other meat
4large slices of tomato
4 to 8lettuce leaves
2tablespoonsbutter or vegetable oil
4slicescheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
If you are starting with fresh chiles, roast them, remove the skins and seeds, salt them and set aside. You can either keep them in fairly large pieces if they are well-roasted, or chop them roughly. Your call. This can be done a few days ahead of time, and of course you can use canned or frozen chiles.
Make four burger patties. I prefer one-third pound burgers, but you can make them any size you want. Pro tips: Press the weighed out ground meat into a large circle mold for more even patties. Press a dimple about the diameter of a walnut in the center of each patty - this prevents them from balling up when cooked. Salt your patties well.
Grilling. Get your grill hot. Scrape down the grates well, and grill your burgers with the grill cover open. Leave them on the grates for at least 3 or 4 minutes so you get grill marks and a good crust. Flip and cook to order. Typically a medium burger will need another 3 minutes.
Stovetop. Preheat oven to 200°F and set a rack over a baking sheet. Heat a cast iron pan or pan that can handle high heat over medium high heat. When it's hot, slick the pan with some canola or other high smoke point oil, like grapeseed or safflower. Set the patties down and press gently with a spatula to get good contact with the pan. Leave them for at least 3 or 4 minutes so you get a good crust. Flip and cook to order. Typically a medium burger will need another 3 minutes.
No matter how you cook your burgers, when you flip them, lay the chiles over them, then cover with a slice of cheese. Close the grill cover or put a lid over the pan to melt the cheese.
On the stovetop you usually have to cook in batches, so you will put each finished burger in the warm oven as you do the rest.
When you are ready, paint your burger buns with the butter or oil and set them on the grill or pan to brown. Keep an eye on the buns so they don't burn. Set aside once browned to your liking.
Build your burgers. I like to go bun, lettuce, tomato slice, patty, bun. But do whatever you like best. Enjoy!
Note that prep time does not include roasting the chiles.
Keys to Success
Make sure to have some fat in your burger patties otherwise they will be dry and will fall apart. Absolute minimum would be 5%, but most people prefer 15%.
Don't skip the indentation step in making the patties, unless you are going to squash them when they hit the pan.
If you are worried about undercooked elk burgers, leave the patties out on a cutting board for 30 minutes or so before you cook them. Salt them at this time.
Freshly roasted green chiles are best, but often it's easier to use frozen or canned. Do whatever works for you.