Ideal grill: Charcoal
Smoke intensity: Strong
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
• 750 g (1 1/2 lb) ground chuck (80 per cent lean)
• 10 ml (2 tsp) ground cumin
• 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) ground black pepper
• Kosher salt
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 4 plum tomatoes, each cut in half lengthwise
• 2 large handfuls mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
• 45 ml (3 tbsp) finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 1 canned chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, minced
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh lime juice
• 4 slices smoked cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese, each about 30 g (1 oz)
• 4 hamburger rolls
The basic two-zone fire is an efficient charcoal arrangement for a wide variety of foods. It combines both direct heat (where the food cooks directly above the coals) and indirect heat (where the foods cook above and to the side of the coals).
1. In a large bowl, gently combine beef, cumin, pepper and 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt. Shape into 4 patties of equal size, each about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide in the centre of each patty. This will help the patties cook evenly and prevent them from puffing on the grill. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
2. Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat (230 C/450 F to 290 C/550 F).
3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl. Brush tomatoes with remaining 30 ml (1 tbsp) of oil.
4. Brush cooking grate clean. Drain and add half of the wood chips to the charcoal and put the lid on the grill. When smoke appears, place tomato halves, cut side up, over indirect high heat. Close lid and cook until tomato juices are bubbling and the skins split, about 12 minutes. Remove from grill. Remove and discard tomato skins and roughly chop tomatoes. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili and lime juice to onion mixture. Season with salt. Set aside.
5. Drain and add remaining wood chips to charcoal and put lid on the grill. When wood starts to smoke, cook patties over direct high heat, with lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to medium doneness, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of cooking time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt and toast the rolls, cut side down. Remove from grill and build each burger with the salsa. Serve warm.
The Canadian Press/2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill by Jamie Purviance (Oxmoor House, 2012).