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Digital Thermometers:
Stop Guessing!

thermopop bbq thermometer

Gold BBQ AwardA good digital thermometer keeps me from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. You can get a professional grade, fast and precise splashproof thermometer like the Thermopop (above) for about $24. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $96. It's is the one you see all the TV chefs and all the top competition pitmasters using. Click here to read more about types of thermometer and our ratings and reviews.

bbq thermapen

GrillGrates Take You To
The Infrared Zone

BBQ_grill_grates

Gold BBQ AwardGrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, produce great grill marks, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, smolder wood right below the meat, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. Every gas grill and pellet smoker needs them.

Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces.

The Smokenator:
A Necessity For All Weber Kettles

smokenator bbq system

Gold BBQ Award If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the amazing Smokenator and Hovergrill. The Smokenator turns your grill into a first class smoker, and the Hovergrill can add capacity or be used to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here to read more.

The Pit Barrel Cooker

pit barrel c ooker bbqAbsolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world.

This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier (and that's because smoke and heat go up, not sideways).

Gold BBQ AwardBest of all, it is only $269 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them.

scissor tongs

Best. Tongs. Ever.

Gold BBQ AwardMade of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use them on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more.

steak knives for bbq

The Best Steakhouse Knives

Gold BBQ AwardThe same knives used at Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton's. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. And now they have the AmazingRibs.com imprimatur. Click for more info.

Encanto New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Salsa

"Why do green chiles, cheese, and burgers taste so good together? Why do vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream taste so good on a banana split? Nobody can explain it. It just works." John Eckre, Bobcat Bite Restaurant in Santa Fe, NM

By Meathead Goldwyn

The Green Chile Cheeseburger is one of the few truly authentic regional styles of burger in the nation. It seems as if every bar and burger joint in "The Land of Enchantment" has a green chile salsa with which they adorn their burgers, fries, chili, chips, beans, soups, stews, chiles rellenos, enchilladas, and whatever else is in the kitchen.

The architecture is simple: A hamburger is topped with a serious dollop of a green chile salsa and covered with a slice of melted cheese. Lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion are common but optional.

The salsa is surprisingly subdued when placed on the bun with juicy meat, cheese, and other condiments. Even if it tastes too hot out of the jar, you will be surprised how mild it is in situ.

To make the salsa, some restaurants merely soften some green chiles on the griddle and lay them on the burger, some buy a pre-mixed salsa in jugs, but the best make it from scratch. Most recipes are fairly simple, and practically all are based on the long slender (5 to 10" long) pods grown near the town of Hatch in the fertile Hatch Valley.

Alas, Hatch chiles are hard to find outside of New Mexico. They can be ordered fresh in late summer from a number of farms via the internet. In cooler months they can be ordered fresh frozen or fire-roasted and then frozen. Alas, it is hard to get them in quantities less than 5 pounds. So my recipe uses a blend of chiles that are easier to find, especially in Mexican groceries across the nation, Anaheims, anchos, and jalapeõs or serranos. I fully expect to be expletived for this transgression, but the results taste pretty good and the recipe can be made anywhere.

Playing the bass fiddle, Anaheim chiles from California. Anaheims are 5 to 10" long pods, pale green, and relatively mild, perhaps 1,000-3,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). They are similar to the popular New Mexico #20 variety used as a base in a lot of the green chile cheeseburger salsas and ion fact they may be cousins. To make it more complex, for rhythm guitar, I mix in poblano peppers, which are dark green, richer and fruitier in flavor, but not any hotter. For a little heat, on lead guitar, I add jalapeños (5,000 Scovilles) or for a bigger bite I use serranos (up to 25,000 Scovilles).

The results are pretty close to the real thing. It was inspired by the topping made by Bobby Olguin at the legendary Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, NM, established in 1943. If you're down that way, don't miss Owl Bar & Café, a short walk from Manny's in San Antonio, Bobcat Bite, in Santa Fe, and Bert's Burger Bowl in Santa Fe.

Green Chile Salsa Recipe

Makes. About 4 cups, enough for at least a dozen burgers
Prep and cooking time.
About 1 hour.

Ingredients
3 green Hatch New Mexico #20, or Hatch New Mexico 6-4 peppers, or Anaheim peppers
1 green jalapeño pepper
1 green poblano pepper
1 tomatillo
1 medium onion, peeled, and sliced in half
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 pinches ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice

Want more heat? Add another jalapeño, or substitute 2 serranos for the jalapeño, or add a few splashes of green hot sauce. But taste it first.

About the lime juice. You can substitute lemon juice or cider vinegar, but I prefer lime juice for its brightness.

Want more flavor? Throw some wood chips onto the coals or into an aliminum pan resting on top of your gas burner when you are grilling the peppers, tomatillo, and onion.

Method
1) Split the peppers in half lengthwise, cut off the stems, and remove the seeds. Leave in the veins because that's where the heat lives. Place them on the grill over medium high or high direct heat, skin side down until the skin blackens and blisters, about 5 minutes. If you're working indoors, you can put them under the broiler skin side up or if you have a gas stove, hold them over a open flame with tongs (and an oven mit). When the skin is black, put the peppers in a bowl and cover them with a dinner plate so they will steam. You can also put them in a paper bag and crumple the top. The steam will help loosen the skin. After about 5 minutes, open the bowl or bag, and when the peppers are cool enough to handle, slip into rubber gloves and peel off the skins. If a little char remains, don't sweat it. If you work bare handed, wash thoroughly with soap and avoid touching any moist part of your body, or your lover's. You can skip the process of skinning the peppers, but if you do it is especially important to blend them well in step 3 to break down the skins.

2) While the peppers are grilling, put the onions on the grill face down until they have nice grill marks. Roll over and grill until the round side is charred. Discard the burned layer. While the onions are grilling, cut the tomatillo in half and roll around on the grill until soft, but don't let it burn.

3) Coarsely chop the peppers, onions, and tomatillo. Chop the garlic fine or smush it in a garlic press and keep the separate from the other ingredients. Warm the oil over medium high heat in a frying pan, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, just enough to soften it. Now peeled peppers, onions, tomatillos, salt, and pepper. Be careful not to lean over the pan. That's pepper spray, man.

4) Add 1/4 cup of water and cook until it is mostly evaporated and the salsa is getting thick.

5) Dump the whole thing into a blender, add the lime juice and cilantro, and pulse until it is a pulp, but not quite smooth. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, cilantro, and juice to your preference. If you want it hotter, a few splashes of green hot sauce will do the job. You can put this in a clean jar and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

6) To make the patty, follow the instructions in my article The Zen of Burgers. I recommend a 6 ounce burger so the sauce is not lost among the other flavors.

7) Toast your buns. If you wish, on the bottom halves, place pickle slices, a slice of tomato, chopped onion, and lettuce, in that order. Or skip them and just go with the salsa and cheese.

8) Cook the burgers until they are about 5°F below the desired temp. Spoon at least 2 rounded tablespoons of salsa on top. More if you wish. Then place the slice of cheese on top of the salsa and cover the grill so the cheese will melt quickly. If you wish, you can place a metal bowl over the burger to speed the melting of the cheese. After about 2 minutes, when the cheese is droopy, slide the burger onto the bottom bun with a spatula, place the top bun on and serve.

This page was revised on 10/27/2011


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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, spareribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, barbecue sauces, rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best buying guide to barbecue smokers, grills, and accessories, edited by Meathead.

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