Beef Burger with Chili Butter Core

August 5, 2009


Disclaimer: This isn’t a simple recipe and it involves quite a bit of prep work. The chili butter and mayo need to be made in advance, so a little planning is necessary. Stuffing a disc of flavored butter into the burger patties takes a little practice, but the result will blow your guests away. Be sure not to turn the burgers until they’ve started to get firm, and keep an eye out for flare-ups.


Makes 4 large burgers.

Chili butter
1/2 lb (250 g) butter
1 head roasted garlic
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp (25 mL) ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
Burger patties
1 1/2–2 lb (750 g–1 kg) lean ground beef
1/4 cup (50 mL) cold water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) onion salt
2 large, ripe, but still firm avocados
2 ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp (25 mL) fresh lime or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
3 tinned green chilies, rinsed, seeded, and chopped
1 finely minced jalapeño or serrano chili (optional)
kosher salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) prepared mustard
granulated garlic
Championship Barbecue Rub (see cookbook for recipe) or your favorite grilling rub
1/4 cup (50 mL) Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see cookbook for recipe)
4 slices Jack cheese (optional)
4 hamburger buns


Chili butter
To make the chili butter, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together until they’re smooth. Transfer the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a tube 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Twist the ends of the tube to close it, and place it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. (It’s a good idea to make the mayo at the same time as you make the chili butter, as both improve when you let the flavors marry.)


The guacamole doesn’t keep well and should be made no more than 1 hour before you put the burgers on the grill. To make it, peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados. (You can mash the avocados as much as you like, but I prefer a chunky guacamole.) Blend in the lime or lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, green chilies, and hot chilies, if desired. Season the guacamole to taste with salt. Cover it and set it aside in a cool place.

Burger patties

Combine the burger ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl. Mix the ingredients lightly with your hands, being careful not to overwork the beef. Split it into 4 equal portions and roll it into balls. Take the butter out of the freezer and slice off four 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) discs. Poke your thumb in the middle of each ball to create a hole and insert the disc of chili butter. Encase the butter in the burger as you shape it into a classic burger shape about 3/4-inch (1.2 cm) thick, ensuring that there are no openings where molten butter could run out. Set the rest of the chili butter aside to soften.

Coat the burger patties lightly with the mustard and sprinkle them with a light coating of granulated garlic, then a light coating of the rub.

Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F (260°C). Place the burgers on the grill, close the cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook them for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye out for flare-ups. Turn them carefully, and cook them for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the patties become firm, but not hard, to the touch. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on top of each patty about 2 minutes before you plan to take them off the grill.

Transfer the burgers from the grill to a serving plate. Tent the burgers with foil and let them rest for 2 to 3 minutes. In the meantime, coat the cut side of each half of the buns with some softened chili butter, sprinkle them with a little granulated garlic, and toast them for 30 to 60 seconds on the grill.

Dress the buns with a generous slather of chipotle mayo. Place the burgers on the buns and top each burger with a big dollop of guacamole. Cover the patties with the top half of the buns and serve.

Note: Warn your guests that the burgers have a molten filling or they could be in for a shock! In any case, have plenty of napkins at the ready. These are very juicy burgers.


For a copy of Ron Shewchuk's cookbook, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE, visit

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