Mexican Burgers with Smoked Poblanos is packed full of flavor. Our secret is mixing chorizo and ground beef, smoking them for incredible smoky flavor, and finishing over high heat for the perfect char.
Mexican Burgers. Oh burgers.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t always a huge homemade-burger-at-home kind of gal. I used to reserve those for restaurants that are known for really amazing juicy burgers. When we would do them at home I would usually do my best to try to be “healthy” about it (by using ground turkey instead of beef). If you remember, we do have an amazing trick to add incredible flavor to turkey (spoiler alert, it’s bacon paste).
But for mexican burgers, they had to be amazing for me to dive in and commit to making them at home. Adding a mix of beef and chorizo was the finishing touch for one influenced by spices from Mexico.
What is Chorizo?
Chorizo is simply defined as pork sausage mixed with spices. The spices can range from simple and not spicy, to very complex and spicy. Chorizo is also not specifically Mexican, instead can be influenced by various European styles. You can see more highlights about Chorizo from Epicurious.
For this Mexican Burger we are combining elements of Mexican Chorizo with Poblano Peppers in a style that I grew up with. You can buy the chorizo in bulk in some grocery stores, but most commonly it will come pre-rolled into sausage. Simply cut the casing for this recipe and use ¼ pound of the chorizo meat.
Which brings me back to these chorizo burgers.
A good burger is many things, but one of the most essential things is that it should be juicy!!! I’m talking like 4 napkins for wiping your mouth and hands kind of juicy. Juicy burgers come from two things — having a good ratio of lean meat to fat, and not overcooking your meat. Fat gives you that juice we’re looking for, as well as flavor!
Meat Ratio for Mexican Burgers
For any beef burger we like to use at least 80% lean and 20% fat (i.e. 80/20). If you want an even juicier burger (who doesn’t?!), then 70/30 (30% fat to lean) is an even better bet, but it isn’t a common ratio. Local markets tend to carry a lot of 85/15, which is fine too, but 80/20 seems to be the sweet spot for us.
We use 1-½ total pounds of meat. 1-¼ of it is the beef, and then we add ¼ pound of the chorizo sausage. It’s the right balance of that spice flavor for us. You can adjust the ratio to your preference. The more chorizo sausage, the spicier it will become. If you can’t find chorizo, then hot Italian sausage works as a nice alternative.
When it comes to filling, we use high quality ground beef like Snake River Farms Ground Beef. It needs very little, if any binding agent. We simply add some dried spices to the ground meat to enhance the flavor. This way the focus is on the meat flavor and natural moisture that will come from the meat. If you only have lean meat, then add 1 egg to help with the binding.
When smoking your meat, make the patties fairly thick (about 1-inch), so that they can stay on the smoker long enough to soak up some of that delicious smoky flavor without cooking all the way through.
Cooking the Mexican Burger
We smoke and then we sear them. Or reverse sear. We’re using our MAK Two-Star General Pellet Grill because it can handle the range of smoke temperatures, up to a high sear. (We’ve clocked it up to 610 degrees F). It also is easy to remove plates from the deflector for direct versus indirect grilling.
- Start with smoking the meat and peppers at a low temperature. Targeting 200 – 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Smoke them for about 45 – 60 minutes or until the internal temperature is around 130 – 135 degrees F.
- When the burgers reach 130 degrees, pull them off the smoker, increase the heat to at least 400 degrees F over direct heat and add the burgers back to finish.
- Once the internal temperature of the burgers reaches 150 slap on your cheese, if you’re into that, and let it melt during those last few moments. Once you hit 160 you’re in the safety zone for ground beef, so pull those bad boys off!!!
Chef’s Note: While the burgers are smoking, add the poblano peppers to the smoker so they soften at the same time. Alternatively you can use Anaheim chili as well.
You don’t have to finish them on the grill. You can totally keep them on the smoker until they reach the recommended temp of 160, but if you want that sear, and I think you do, then I highly recommend taking that extra step and finish them over fire. Or you can finish over a medium heat in a cast iron pan on the stove top.
Use a Good Thermometer
Once you transfer them to the grill they will finish cooking very quickly, so this is where you need your thermometer to keep monitoring. Don’t let them get over 160, because that’s where you’ll start to loose all that moisture and flavor! This can happen quickly!
A spicy mayo is a great condiment to add to the flavor. Take mayo and add adobo sauce juice (from a chipotle can) and any of your favorite flavors. Double the batch for a great fry sauce.
This, my friends, is the ultimate smoked burger.
Don’t have a Smoker?
This is just as good grilled. Simply follow the directions for making the burger. Then when grilling, use a two zone method and grill the burgers for 6 minutes per side over direct heat, and then move to indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
When grilling the peppers, just roast them over direct heat until you get a nice char and they are soft. It is easy to remove the skin.
These chorizo burgers are bold and full of smoky flavors, juicy meat, and a bit of spice. I’m looking for a wine that can stand up to those smoky and spicy flavors from the meat and chipotle aioli, yet not overpower the gorgeous smoke flavors from the tender meat. For something with great flavor, but not too overpowering, I like bolder red wines that aren’t too high in tannin, like Syrah or Malbec. But I wouldn’t argue with a bold flavored fruity rosé to pair with this too, especially in the warm summer sun. The fruity flavors and colder temperature will refresh your palate between bites of these spicy burgers. Yum!
Other Great Burger Ideas
- Grilled Smash Burgers With Caramelized Onions
- A Turkey Burger That Doesn’t Suck
- Grilled Salmon Burger
- Classic Cheeseburger
This post was first published in April of 2016, and updated in July of 2020 with edited content and recipe steps details.
Mexican Burger Recipe
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Thanks for this amazing and yummy recipe
It looks really amazing and delicious 😀
I have 2 questions should i use mutton instead of beef and home made mayo?
Sean Martin says
Feel free to use whatever ground meat you like! We haven’t done alot of mutton, and as for mayo absolutely! Anything that is your personal touch and flavor is a win!
We just finished dinner. Holy smokes. Best burger I’ve ever done. Used grass fed beef and skipped the bun and cheese. I will add that this burger pairs well with bourbon! Made a few extra and vacuumed sealed for freezer. Thermometer is a must.
Awesome!!! I’m so happy to hear the burgers were a success for you!!! Thanks for checking back in and sharing your feedback 🙂 And my husband totally approves the bourbon pairing (it’s his favorite!).
Dan Shumate says
Sounds awesome! I like the idea of garnishing with smoked / grilled poblano peppers. I might add some caramelized onions.
Did you use Spanish or Mexican chorizo?
We use Mexican chorizo for these. Mexican chorizo is usually ground, uncooked, meat. Spanish is dried and cured sausage that comes in a casing. Since were mixing the raw meat with the chorizo, I use the raw Mexican pork chorizo to blend into the beef.
Richard Mazzoni says
Making this tonight. Made the burgers from 80/20 beef and chorizo we made ourselves from fresh pork ground at home with spice mix from Savory Spice Shop.Smoking on Traeger pellet grill and finishing on gas grill. Since we’re in New Mexico, had to substitute Hat;ch roasted green chile for the poblano (state requirement, Ha). Will let you know how it turns out.
Ohhh I’d love to hear how you liked the burgers? I love Hatch chilies. I use them whenever I can find them up here!
These are officially going to be our family’s first burgers of grilling season! Thanks for the recipe, and congrats on some truly gorgeous food photography!
Awesome! And thank you 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
Definitely craving a burger right now, these look incredibly delicious.
Jill Campbell says
This looks DELISH! Ihave pinned for a later summer BBQ (as soon as this snow melts LOL!). Great photos too. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks so much. I hope your snow melts soon 🙂
Dia All The Things I Do says
I am a huge burger girl. If it wouldn’t kill me I’d eat burgers every day! I love em homemade at the store, at the drive thru lol.
I love chillis burgers.I am worried this recipe might have too much of a kick for me.
For less kick you can leave out the chorizo (or sub it for mild Italian sausage). And the poblanos aren’t spicy, but just add some fun earthy and smoky flavors. The aioli can be as mild or spicy as you’d like to make it (just adjust the amount of chipotle to your likings). Easily adaptable to any level of spice and smoke!! 🙂
Heather Davis says
Wow that burger looks amazing!
Thank you 🙂
Oh gosh. This looks ridiculously amazing! Great tips!!!
Thanks so much!!
Geoff (Steep Stories) says
I’ve never had a homemade smoked burger. This looks absolutely amazing.
They are crazy good. Worth every minute of prep.
Brettni Brumfield says
We have a thermometer that tells us the temp at which the meat/veggies are cook at, but we don’t have one that shows the internal temp of the meat.
We need one. Thanks for the recommendation and the scrumptious recipe!
Ohhhh yes, you do. You’ll never have overcooked (or undercooked) meat again!
These burgers look amazing! I love chorizo but I’ve never had it in a burger. I will have to try this very soon.
It adds some awesome flavor! We use Italian sausage sometimes too, for a less intense (and less spicy) flavor.
Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife says
Those burgers look perfect! We don’t have burgers often, and when we do make them at home they are always turkey burgers, but I might have to try this recipe this summer! These look perfect for neighborhood cookouts!
These are easily adapted to turkey burgers. And you can always leave out the chorizo if you didn’t want the pork. We usually stuck to turkey too, but when I do beef, I go big!!!
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
Wow! That looks AMAZING!!! I love a good burger.
Mary Burris says
I’m like you. I love a good burger, but getting one done perfectly at home is not an easy task!
I will have to start using my thermometer to see if that helps. Thanks for that tip.
#AtoZChallenge F is for Fitzgerald
Yes yes yes, a good thermometer is the key to perfectly cooked meat!
Luxuriously! How do you think, if I add pickles? Normally would?
Add whatever you like! I’m a huge pickle fan. Just didn’t have the room on this one this time 🙂
Pinning this for later! I’m not a red meat eater, but this would be great with turkey burgers. I’m dying to try that chipotle sauce!
Yes, it’s totally adaptable to poultry burgers too! That’s what we usually do it for (since I try try try to be more health conscience around here). But with poultry it’s best to cook to at least 165 degrees for safe temp.
Allison - Celebrating Sweets says
I’m seriously drooling! I love your tips too!
Thanks so much!!
YUM These sound amazing! We just got a new charcoal grill, so I’ll have to add this recipe to our list!
Oh yeah, you can totally do the entire thing on the charcoal grill too. You can add some wood chips alongside the charcoal to get some of that smoked infusion.
I’ll have one now please these look amazing. Can’t wait to make them…
What’s your address to deliver one too?? 😉
First I want to say that we love putting everything in the smoker, but it never occurred to me to put the burgers in there! To me, nothing tastes as good as smoked food. Also, that recipe looks divine! I love all those flavors and everything about this post! Thank you!
Ahhh yeah, fellow smoked-food-lover! Welcome 🙂 Yes, burgers do amazingly well on the smoker!
Carol Melancon says
Never occurred to me either, and we also smoke stuff all the time. I’m slapping my forehead and saying “Doh!” right now.
This sounds so yummy! I think the smokiness in this dish would be great! Yum!
Wow. These burgers look SO juicy and flavorful and full of toppings. I love your combination of flavors here–chorizo is seriously so good. Now I just need to figure out how to get a grill in my tiny NYC apartment…
Well those burgers can easily be adapted to indoor cooking too!! You will lose some of the smoke flavor, but there’s nothing wrong with a good pan seared burger, or one cooked on an indoor grill pan!!
Jim West says
How about using “healthier” burger I.e. Buffalo, Elk etc. one can have less guilt although not over cooking is even more paramount when trying to achieve a juicy burger..
Jim certainly there are options like ground buffalo/bison/elk etc. The taste will stand out, especially with elk. One item I have found is that the fat content on more lean based burgers needs to be adjusted because they tend to be a leaner meat. If grinding your own meat, you can include the sirloin or brisket meat. If you are buying ground from a butcher, getting the fat included helps to avoid overcooking. Using those types of meats aren’t as forgiving as beef on the grill. My favorite of the game meats is most definitely ostrich!
Erin @ Platings and Pairings says
Thanks for the insider tips on making the perfect burger Mary! Now I’m starving!
Sorry about that 😉 You’re always welcome here for some bbq goodness!
Rachel Lloyd says
Wow!!! These look amazing and make me wish summer was already here. Beautiful photos.
Thanks so much! We’ve had summer weather here in Portland, so we’ve been taking advantage of it by cooking and eating outside as much as we can!!
Such an amazing burger! I bet this tastes amazing 🙂
It certainly did 🙂
This burger is making me so hungry and it’s only 7:45 AM! I am definitely making your burger this weekend! Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks 🙂 Burgers for breakfast??? 😉
holy moly, that’s a good looking burger! i can almost feel the juices running down my chin and forearms, which is an obvious indication of an awesome burger. nicely done!
Ha! Yes I agree! It has to have messy juices running everywhere to be worth it 🙂