New Mexico-Style Poblano Chile Barbecue Burger

I‘ve always wondered about the New Mexico phenomenon known as the “green chile cheeseburger.” In the original version, New Mexican Hatch green chiles are fire roasted and then roughly chopped into a kind of wet mash, put on top of the burger, and then covered in cheese to hold everything together. It’s the kind of regional twist on a burger that seems like it would be best experienced in the town that invented it, and so, rather than try and copy a burger we don’t really know anything about, our version is a bit of a reinvention that I believe holds true to the intent of the original.

Because this burger has so much else going on, I went a little bit bigger with my burger patty than I normally would; this one weighs in at about six ounces. The normal rules of burger production apply, though; don’t overhandle or overwork the hamburger patty, or the heat of your hands will start to render the fat and turn your burger to mush. I also use a little bit less salt when seasoning the patty, because though ground beef can handle a lot of seasoning, the addition of corn chips on the finished burger is going to bring a lot of saltiness.

I used a poblano pepper in our version, though remember that these can vary greatly in heat. The roasting will mellow it out somewhat, but be sure to taste your finished pepper before piling them on your burger. Also, try to find a chipotle barbecue or spicy sauce to drizzle on top; I went with “DennyMike’s Hot ‘n’ Nasty” sauce, a locally-produced variety that I like quite a bit.

New Mexico-Style Poblano Chile Barbecue Burger
Adapted from a recipe in Sunset; Makes three burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 poblano chiles, seeded and de-veined
  • 1 bag corn chips
  • Sliced Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons spicy barbecue sauce
  • 3 soft hamburger buns, split and buttered.

Method:

  1. Slice chiles down one side, so you can open them up flat, and place skin-side-up under broiler. Broil until skin blackens and blisters, about five minutes. Remove chiles and seal in a plastic bag, and set aside for 10-15 minutes. When chiles cool, rub them between your fingers to peel the blackened skin off, and slice the chiles into 1-inch wide strips.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Divide meat into thirds, and loosely form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place on hot skillet. Cook until burgers release from pan, about 2-3 minutes. Flip burgers, top with cheese, add a splash of water, cover, and cook until cheese melts, approximately another 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate frying pan, place buns buttered-side-down and cook over medium heat until insides of buns are toasted.
  4. While buns toast, mix mayonnaise and barbecue sauce in a separate bowl, tasting to adjust amount of barbecue sauce used.
  5. To assemble the burgers, place a finished cheeseburger on a toasted bun. Top with one of the roasted poblano peppers, then a handful of corn chips. Finally, drizzle with barbecue mayo, and serve immediately.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

9 Comments

  1. Can you actually bite through this mound of lusciousness? Or does the thick outer wall of the pepper prevent tooth puncture, making it necessary to tug and pull, thereby ending up with whole hot pepper slapping against one’s chin?

    I could make quite a fine analogy there, taking into consideration the previous comments. I’ll forgo that in the hope of finding out how you roast peppers to softness. I can’t seem to do it.

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