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Gaucho Matambre Burger

After dining at a Brazilian/Argentinian Steakhouse, I wanted to incorporate those flavors into our everyday summer cooking, especially with something as simple as a burger. One of the dishes I enjoyed at the restaurant was a rolled, stuffed flank steak called "matambre" which I learned translated to "hunger killer". The following is my version of "matambre" in a burger using ingredients that I think invokes the unique flavors and smoke of the South American grills called "parillas." I hope you enjoy this as much we do!


1 small head of garlic, broken into cloves and peeled (approx. 8-10 cloves or one and one-half ounces)
1 small bunch of fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf), stemmed (approx. 3/4 packed cup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
6 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for brushing the grill (use regular olive oil, not virgin or extra virgin because their smoking points are too low for the type of grilling you'll do for this dish)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup finely grated or ground fresh Romano cheese
2 small carrots, peeled and grated
2 pounds of fresh ground chuck (80-82% lean)
6 ounces Chorizo, casing removed (Mexican sausage; the best you can afford)
6 French rolls, split (or 6 portions of good French bread)
18-24 large fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
6 strips cooked smoked bacon
6 large roasted red pepper pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise


FOR THE CHIMICHURRI HERB BASE: Combine garlic, parsley, salt, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes in a food processor and chop as finely as possible.

FOR THE OIL USED TO BRUSH THE ROLLS: Combine 1 teaspoon of the chimichurri herb base with 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.

FOR THE BURGER DRESSING: Combine 4 teaspoons of the herb base with the vinegar and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until just before serving.

FOR THE BURGERS: In a large bowl, combine the balance of the herb base, cheese and carrots. Mix in the ground beef and Chorizo and blend thoroughly, but lightly to avoid "compacting" or "toughening" the burger. Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties approx. 1" thick and the shape/dimensions of the French rolls. Cover and properly store (refrigerate) until ready to grill.

Prepare your covered grill (either charcoal or gas) for a high-heat (500 degrees) fire. When at temperature, lightly oil the grates with olive oil. (I use a pair of tongs to hold a paper towel soaked in a few tablespoons of oil and then "brush" the grill with this.)

Arrange the burgers on the grill and sear with the grill lid closed for 3 minutes. Turn the burgers and sear for an additional 2 minutes. Open the lid and lower the temperature of the grill by reducing the gas to low (about 325-350 degrees). Close the lid and continue to cook the burgers an additional 4-5 minutes or until their internal temperature reads 160 degrees using an instant read thermometer.

Brush the soft insides of the rolls with the herb oil. During the last 3 minutes of grilling, arrange the rolls cut side down on the grill to toast.

Remove the burgers from the grill and allow to rest a couple of minutes to allow the juices to settle back into the meat. For assembly, spread a thin layer of dressing on the bottom of each roll. Top with 3-4 spinach leaves, a burger, a red pepper piece, a piece of bacon (cut in two pieces) and another dollop of dressing. Add the roll top and dig in!!


If using a charcoal grill, I would set up the coals in the grill or kettle to allow for direct and indirect grilling.