Honey Habanero Aioli Burgers with Pickled Onions

Summer reminds us all (in America) of grilling burgers and dogs out on our decks or patios. I missed out on this fantastic outdoor meat eating season for two years due to my veggie lifestyle (I'll take a veggie burger please...). Not anymore my friends, not anymore. This year I will be feasting on all sorts of tasty (and responsibly raised) meats. Seriously though, if you're going to make a meal made almost entirely out of meat, for heaven's sake please use the best meat you can find and afford.

I like a nice and simple burger with lots of flavorful toppings. When I decided to make a burger, I wanted it to be one of the best burgers I've ever sunk my little chompers into. This combination of spicy aioli and pickled onions really blew me out of the water. Someone out there PUH-LEASE make the aioli and pickled onions. You will be so glad you did. Top the burger with some crunchy iceberg lettuce and slap in on a freshly baked bun and you've got a summer BBQ!

Honey Habanero Aioli
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large egg yolks
1 handful cilantro (remove stems)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lime (juice)
1/2 lime (zest)
2 habanero peppers
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
sea salt

Turn on your broiler. Place habanero under broiler on a baking sheet until skin chars up (4-5 minutes). Remove, put in a paper bag or cover in a kitchen towel and let cool. Once cooled, remove the skin and seeds from the pepper. Wash your hands, or your eyes will be burning later!

You can make this by hand or by using a food processor. I opt for my food processor. In the food processor, pulse together garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, yolks, lime juice and zest. Add the cilantro last and pulse to combine. Make sure your eggs are room temperature or it will be harder for them to bind to the oil.

Whisk together the vegetable oil and olive oil in a separate bowl. With the food processor running, very slowly stream in the oil. When all of it is added, it should look like mayonnaise! Give it a little taste, and add some salt as necessary. Put it in the fridge until ready to assemble burgers.  

Pickled Onions
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 lime (juice)
1/2 large white or red onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

Make the onions a day or 2 ahead of time. I let them marinade in the juice for 48 hours to really soak up all the flavor.  In a small sauce pan, bring vinegar, water, salt, sugar, lime juice and peppercorns to a boil. Pour the liquid over the onions in a small mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours before serving. 

 1 lb. grass-fed free range ground beef
4 fresh rolls (I used Ciabatta rolls)
iceberg lettuce
Cheddar cheese slices
salt and pepper

Season your beef with some salt and pepper. That's it. Keep it simple. If your beef is high quality, let it shine. Mix it up a little bit with your hands, just enough to incorporate the salt and pepper into the meat. 

Heat your grill pan or grill over medium-high to high heat. Break up the pound of beef into 4 equal parts and pat into 1/2 inch round patties. Throw the burgers on the grill, and cook for about 3 minutes on both sides (for medium doneness). Adjust time for desired doneness. If adding cheese, add for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Place burger on bun and top with some of that delicious spicy ailoi, pickled onions and iceberg lettuce.

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