Chorizo Burgers with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Is there any way to improve on chorizo, Mexico's addictively spicy sausage? Andrew Zimmern has an answer: Turn it into a burger—and top with a tomatillo-avocado salsa. (Note: Plan ahead—chorizo ingredients require 24 hours in the fridge.)
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Chorizo

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon ground epazote (optional), found at Mexican specialty stores or online

1 tablespoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 pounds ground pork

2 jalapeños, divided, one for the burgers, one for the salsa

2 tablespoons lime juice, about 2 limes

1 small yellow onion, about 1 cup, chopped

2 tablespoons Mexican dark beer, Negra Modelo suggested

2 chipotles in adobo, for extra heat, add 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Salsa

8 ounces tomatillos

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 serrano chili, chopped

3 tablespoons lime juice, about 2?3 limes

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 small white onion, chopped

2 avocados

Burger Assembly

6 hamburger buns

Cotija, or other grated Mexican white cheese

Thinly sliced tomato

Directions

  1. Chorizo, part 1: Fill a small bowl with hot water. Smash garlic cloves, then place into the water for 15 seconds to loosen the skin. Peel garlic, then grate it with a microplane into a mixing bowl. Add epazote, oregano, chili powder, salt, cilantro, and pork.
  2. Run metal skewers crosswise through the jalapeños to create a grid. Place them directly over the gas flame of a burner to blacken. Using the skewers, rotate jalapeños to char and blacken on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, you can broil them, lightly oiled and on a sheet pan, in an oven, about 4 minutes per side.) Remove from heat and set aside to cool, 5 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice to the meat mixture. Cut the onion into rings, stack them, and slice top to bottom to dice. Mince them further by rocking the knife back and forth over the dice, then add to the pork mixture, along with the beer. When jalapeños are cool, remove some of the black char with your fingers; set one aside for the salsa. Slice the other in half lengthwise, and remove the ribs and seeds. Finely chop it and add to the pork, along with the chipotles and optional adobo. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 18–24 hours.
  4. Salsa: Fill a medium bowl with hot water. Place tomatillos in the water to loosen the husk, 3–5 minutes. Put garlic, serrano chili, remaining charred jalapeño (seeded and chopped), cilantro, mint, and salt in a food processor. Remove tomatillos from the water and peel off the husk. Slice, then add to the food processor. Pulse about 30 times, until all ingredients are roughly uniform.
  5. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Run a spoon between the peel and flesh to remove each half in one piece. Place all four halves into the food processor. Pulse 6–8 more times. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Place salsa into a bowl with chopped onions. Stir to combine, and set aside. (Makes 3 cups; store in the refrigerator up to 48 hours.)
  6. Chorizo, part 2: Remove pork from refrigerator, and shape into 6 patties. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast buns in an even layer, cut side down, 2 minutes; set aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering, 1 minute. Add burgers in an even layer (do not crowd) and season lightly with salt. Cook 5 minutes per side, until there’s a brown crust on the outside and the internal temperature hits 150–155 F. Repeat with remaining oil, burgers, and buns.
  7. Assembly: Place burgers on toasted buns. Top with a tomato slice, a dollop of salsa, and a teaspoon of grated cheese. Serve with remaining salsa on the side. Devour.