Our town offers very little in the way of gastronomy. No cheap take-out, no Mexican place, nowhere to get a decent glass of wine or a cocktail on a Friday night. Definitely no fancy grocery store, hipster food truck, or even decent slice of pizza.
Our village holds one and only one gem.
On the west side of town, across from Hank’s Hardware and next to the two-screen movie theater stands a cow, high on a pole, whose paint is starting to peel. That cow stands guard over Valley Meat Supply which is just like your hipster butcher shop but with 70-year-olds cutting up the meat right from the half carcass hanging from the ceiling with a chainsaw.
They sell beef butchered from cows the owner raises on his ranch outside of town, as well as crazy-good house-smoked bacon, housemade salami that my son affectionately calls “tiny meat”, and other odds and ends you’d expect to find at a meat market in North Dakota, namely lutefisk and lefse.
We have been going there religiously since we moved here six years ago and they’ve watched our kids grow from babies to humans with desires, slicing a piece of tiny meat or handing them a quarter for the jelly bean machine when they see them coming. Last weekend Armando ran in to get some bacon—God forbid we run out on a Saturday and have to wait until Monday to get more—and he came back to the car with the local newspaper that they had saved for us, because the kids were on the front page.
Our weekly purchase is usually bacon (sliced thick to order), tiny meat (sliced, not quite as thick, to order) a pound or two of ground beef, and maybe something else short ribs, flank steak, sometimes they’ll have lamb from the neighboring ranch.
These burgers made with that ground beef and the addition of chorizo are not the healthiest thing in the world, but as most not-healthy things, pretty phenomenal. The fat and spice from the chorizo bubble and melt into the beef as they cook.
Pan-fried these burgers are winter’s answer to any grill cravings you might be experiencing. Certainly the addition of salted and smashed avocado and a pile of crispy fried onion rings don’t hurt either.
For the burgers:
- 12 ounces ground beef
- 6 ounces Mexican chorizo
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 hamburger buns
- 1 ripe avocado
- Mayonnaise (optional)
For the Onions:
- 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced (the mandolin is best if you have one)
- 1/4 cup flour (Wondra, if you have it)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
For the Burgers:
- Combine ground beef and chorizo in a bowl and divide meat into 4 patties.
- Heat tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place patties in the pan and let cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes or until well browned on one side. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let rest in the pan while you make the onions.
- Meanwhile, scoop avocado flesh into a bowl, remove pit and sprinkle with salt. Mash a few times with a fork to break up but not until smooth. Toast burger buns.
For the Onions:
- Heat oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Toss onions with flour and salt until well coated.
- Test to see if oil is ready by dipping an onion into the oil, it should bubble vigorously, if not, give the oil another minute or two. When oil is hot, Remove a handful of onions from the flour mixture and shake off excess flour. Carefully place in the oil and repeat until the pan is full but not crowded.
- Let cook, undisturbed until browned on the bottom. Flip with tongs and cook the other side, about 3 minutes more. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining onions.
- Spoon some avocado on the one side of the burger bun. Top with a chorizo burger, then some onions. Spread some mayonnaise on the top bun if you'd like and serve.
One More Thing
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