Cheeseburgers are one the the quickest outdoor dishes to fix, not to mention one of the best.
This approach to the classic cheeseburger takes a little more time, but it combines slow smoking at a low temperature using indirect heat with grilling at a higher temperature over direct heat to create texture.
The burger is topped off with fresh, creamy guacamole which has a spicy kick, taking this sandwich over the culinary edge.
Trust me, this is easy and well worth the effort. The entire recipe and technique can be viewed on my YouTube account. Go to www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay. Search for “smoked cheeseburgers.”
Set up your kettle grill for indirect heat. Once the briquettes are 75 percent gray, sprinkle the coals with a large handful or two of hickory chips. Many people like soaking their hickory chips, but I don't find it is necessary. Once the hickory burns off, you are ready to place the burgers opposite the hot coals, which reminds me. I need to talk about the burger patties.
The biggest rookie mistake I witness from outdoor chefs is serving a hamburger that looks more like a meatball on a bun. Don't do that. When you create your patty, make sure the middle of the burger is roughly one half the thickness of the rest of the burger. When a burger cooks it pulls together, which in most cases causes the dreaded meatball effect. This simple technique corrects that problem.
Now, back to the recipe.
I used roughly two pounds of ground beef and added a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and a couple tablespoons of minced garlic. I then mixed it all together. You can add anything you like in your burgers, or nothing at all. I salt and pepper the burgers while I am grilling them. I ended up with six nice-sized burgers.
Once the burgers are placed opposite the hot coals, place the lid on the grill and allow the burgers to cook for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes flip them, salt and pepper again and place the lid on the grill and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how big the burgers are.
This is where it takes a little additional work. Take the grate with the burgers off the grill and spread out the coals. You may need to add a few fresh briquettes. Place the grate with the burgers back on the grill and cook the burgers over direct heat for a few minutes. Flip them, add the cheese and put the lid back on. Cook for another few minutes and take them off the grill. Load with spicy guacamole and you are ready to dig in!
1 avocado, halved and sliced into small pieces
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped (the more seeds you use, the hotter it will be)
2 green onions chopped (use only the white portion)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Mash the avocado up a bit, then add rest of the ingredients, mix and load up on top of your smoked cheeseburger. If serving wine, a nice Chardonnay or a peppery Zinfandel would work great. If beer is being served, consider a golden ale or a lightly hopped lager. Enjoy!
* Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQMyWay.com.