This gourmet burger recipe infuses juicy, all beef patties with the flavors of bright, citrusy Cuban mojo sauce, and a garlicky aioli. A true artisan burger for your summer entertaining menus!
To kick off the season, I have a showstopper gourmet burger recipe to zest up your next party: Mojo Beef Burgers with Tequila-Lime Aioli.
Infused with garlic, lime, and orange, these burgers are anything but ordinary. Grilled to juicy perfection and layered with sliced avocado, grilled onions, Manchego cheese, and a dollop of tangy aioli, this gourmet burger recipe is just begging to be served al fresco this summer!
Making Mojo Beef Burgers
What is Cuban Mojo Sauce?
Mojo is a Cuban condiment typically used as a marinade or sauce for meats. Traditionally made with sour oranges, garlic, smoky cumin, and herbs, Cuban mojo sauce is bright and aromatic. We enjoy it so much on grilled steak, I figured, why not try a burger with it?
Mojo Sauce Panade
In developing this gourmet burger recipe, my challenge came in infusing the meat with the Mojo sauce without causing the burgers to fall apart from too much added moisture. I ultimately decided to utilize a Mojo-soaked variation of the panade from the grilled meatballs I’ve shared with you in the past.
What is a panade?
A panade is made from soft bread soaked in a liquid of your choosing. Milk is often used, as are marinades and broths flavored with aromatics. When the bread is soaked, it forms a paste-like consistency that melts into the ground meat.
You only need a small amount of panade for burgers, and once the patties are cooked, the bread itself is pretty much totally undetectable. Burgers made with panade stay juicy and tender, even when cooked to well-done.
What Is The Best Ground Beef For Burgers?
I like to grind the meat for burgers myself whenever possible, but this recipe works (and was tested) with both home- and store-ground beef.
If you’ve never tried grinding beef yourself, I highly encourage you to give it a go! With an attachment for your stand mixer, it isn’t a difficult process and the meat is incomparably fresh and tender. Once you try it, you might never look back!
Want to get started? Check out my tutorial for grinding meat in your home kitchen.
Whether you’re grinding the meat yourself or buying it pre-ground, you want to use chuck beef for this recipe. It’s a well-marbled cut that will yield a juicy, well-flavored burger.
I like to use a burger press (pictured above) for uniform patties that cook evenly. After forming the patty, I always make a slight indentation with my knuckles in the center of each to keep the burger from swelling as it cooks.
How to Serve Mojo Beef Burgers
These burgers are hearty, so you’re going to want to serve them on a substantial bun. We love them on grilled brioche buns, as pictured here. (For a lower carb option, they’re also delicious served plated, sans bun.)
My favorite cheese to pair with these burgers is Manchego, a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. It brings a great element of nuttiness to the burger that plays well with the flavors of the Mojo sauce and the spiked aioli.
What is Aioli?
Full disclosure: the spread I’ve paired with this gourmet burger recipe is not a true aioli. It’s more in line with the type of mayonnaise-based “aioli” you’re likely to see offered on restaurant menus in the US.
While mayonnaise and aioli are both emulsions, their ingredients and the processes used to make them differ in their truest forms.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of egg yolks, whisked with a neutral oil, and most of the time, a bit of lemon juice or vinegar. It can be flavored, but the egg yolks are key to the emulsification here.
Provencal or Catalonian Aioli consists simply of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, slowly crushed together and emulsified with a mortar and pestle. Aioli a bit labor intensive and assertive in flavor. It’s amazing, but a little goes a long way!
That established, the aioli in this gourmet burger recipe is really a flavored mayonnaise. It’s creamy, garlicky, lightly-spiked, and utterly delicious!
I love the splash of tequila in this spread and how it compliments the flavors in the Mojo Beef Burgers. Not to mention that you’re going to want to dip all the sides in it, from plantain chips to sweet potato fries. You’ve been forewarned!
Mojo Beef Burgers with Tequila-Lime Aioli
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (depending on how prominent a cumin flavor you like; I use 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 slice farmhouse white bread , crusts removed, bread torn into small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 1-1/2 pounds ground chuck (80%/20%)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
- 1 small garlic clove , minced
- 1 tablespoon tequila
- 1 large yellow onion , sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 avocado , halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 4 slices Manchego cheese , Swiss, or Cheddar
- 4 brioche-style hamburger buns
- olive oil , for brushing
- In a mixing bowl, stir together orange and lime juices, zests, garlic, cumin, oregano, kosher salt, pepper, and cilantro. Make a "panade" by adding torn bread pieces to the sauce. Stir to combine and let stand 5 minutes. Mash the soaked bread with the back of a spoon until the mixture is a paste-like consistency. Mix in ground beef until the panade is fully distributed (for tender burgers, don't over-mix).
- Divide meat into 6-ounce portions and shape into 1/2-inch thick patties. (I use a burger press). Use your knuckles to make a slight indentation in the center of each patty for even cooking.
- Heat grill over high heat. Oil grates or line with a non-toxic, nonstick grill mat.
- Sear burgers over direct heat, about 3 minutes per side. Move burgers to indirect heat and continue cooking until desired doneness is reached, closing lid and topping with cheese to melt during the last few minutes of cooking.
- Brush onion slices with oil. Grill onions over medium heat until soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes per side. Lightly brush insides of buns with oil and grill until toasted, about 1 minute.
Make Tequila-Lime Aioli
- Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, garlic, and tequila. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Assemble Burgers and Serve
- Place grilled burgers on toasted buns and top with onions, sliced avocado, and aioli. Serve immediately with sweet potato fries or plantain chips.
Originally Published May 3, 2017.