Turn Up the Heat Burgers


I love a good traditional burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and condiments of choice, but a meat patty as a blank canvas is a delicious and inspiring thing.  It’s so much fun to play around with ingredients and flavor combinations.  If I have items in my kitchen that I wish to use up, I love finding ways to utilize them as burger toppings.  Such was the case when I created this sandwich.

We had enjoyed fish tacos for dinner earlier in the week and were left with extra diced tomatoes, an in-used ripe avocado, and Sriracha Aioli.  Additionally, there was an almost finished jar of pickled jalapeños, half of a red onion, a quarter of a lime, and some sliced Pepper Jack cheese which were all awaiting eviction from our refrigerator.  A few years back, I ate a mouth-watering burger with mashed avocado as a condiment.  Consequently, I was inspired to use the avocado, tomato, red onion, lime, and jalapeños to create a tangy guacamole to spread on the sandwiches.  It was a cool counterpart to the spice of the Sriracha and Pepper Jack cheese.  Considering the fact we like things with a bit of heat in our house, this combination was a hit.

My “Turn Up the Heat” burger may not be the prettiest sandwich to look at, but it sure is good to eat.


Sriracha Aioli

2 Tbsp Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce


Whisk the Sriracha and mayonnaise together until combined.  This mixture can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


Tangy Guacamole

1 ripe Haas avocado

1/4 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup pickled jalapeños

1 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped

1/4 lime wedge

Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula

Kosher salt, to taste


Place the avocado in a small mixing bowl.  Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado, followed by a sprinkle of salt, to taste, and a dash or two of hot sauce.  Using a fork, mash the mixture together to combine.  Toss in the tomato, red onion, and pickled jalapeños, and stir to distribute.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  Use immediately.



1 1/2 lbs ground beef (90% lean if you’re trying to be heathy, 80-85% lean if you want a more flavorful patty)

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 slices Pepper Jack cheese

4 Brioche hamburger rolls

4 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, softened to room temperature

Sriracha Aioli (see above)

Tangy Guacamole (see above)


1. Combine the ground beef, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Using your hands, gently distribute the ingredients throughout the ground beef, but do not over-mix (unless you enjoy eating hockey pucks instead of burgers).  Divide the meat into 4 equal portions.  Pat each chunk of meat into a ball, about the size of a baseball, then flatten it and make an indentation in the center of the patty (this prevents the burger from creating a dome while cooking, keeping the patties flat).  Sprinkle both sides of each patty with extra salt and pepper to taste.

2. Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to high heat.  Once the cooking surface is hot, oil it using a paper towel or clean dish cloth (or if you are using a grill pan, cooking spray).  Cook the burgers, covered, 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how well you like them done.  During the last minute of the cooking time, place 1 slice of Pepper Jack cheese on each burger.  Remove the burgers from heat and allow them to rest, tented with foil, for a couple minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to broil.  Spread the cut sides of the burger rolls with the butter or margarine, coating the entire surface with a thin layer.  Place the roll halves cut-side up on a baking sheet, then move them to the oven.  Broil the rolls for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the edges start to brown.  Do not leave the oven during this step, as you will risk letting the rolls burn.

4. Once the rolls are removed from the oven, spread the Sriracha Aioli, to taste, on the cut side of the bottom half of each roll.

5. Spread the Tangy Guacamole, to taste, on the cut side of the top half of each roll.

6. Place each meat patty on the bottom half of a Sriracha Aioli-smeared roll, then top with a Tangy Guacamole-covered lid.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4






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