Argentinian burger recipe

BH&T Argentina Burger RecipeAsado Burger with Chimichurri Sauce
Argentina – oh blessed land of beef lovers – is located on the Southeastern coast of South America, bordered by Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil.  It’s a large country whose food and culture is greatly influenced by Europeans (Spanish, Italian and French) who have been coming there since the early 1500’s.

from CIA World Factbook

For our purposes, the most important thing to know about Argentinians is that they eat A LOT of beef.  Argentina is the number one per capita consumer of beef in the world, 55% higher consumption rate than the US (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade, annual).  It is not uncommon for Argentinians to eat beef with two meals a day, so clearly this burger is all about the meat.

One of the most common ways to cook beef is “asado” over an open fire, or barbeque.  For the most part, because the flavor of beef is so important, seasoning is simple with just salt added to steaks or roasts so that the meat and smoke of the barbeque are the dominant flavors.

So, here is where the real adventure begins – the challenge, grind my own meat to make the BEST BURGER EVER!  Of course, it is never that easy – what kind of meat to use, sirloin or chuck, brisket or ribs, grass fed or feed fed?  I played with different cuts of meat and came up with a combination that was both tender and tasty, we had a great time tasting different options, so I encourage everyone to try it yourself and see what ratio of beef cuts you like best.

sirloin tips, made the best burger ever!

Even though I’m giving you my original combo below, when I went to repeat this recipe, the chuck didn’t look that good, but they had a really nice sirloin tip that had good marbling so I used 100% sirloin tip last night and it was fantastic.  The lesson learned here is that you need to look at the neat available and find something that looks good with enough fat to keep your burger tasty.

One other beef note, we did a side by side taste test of grass fed vs. feed fed beef and there is a taste difference (as a person who made her living in marketing not long ago, I was dubious, hence the taste test).  My whole family liked the grass fed beef slightly better – however, none of us liked it enough to justify the $2 per pound price difference.  I used grass fed beef for this burger, but I doubt I will go to the expense of buying grass fed again.  That being said – fresh is incredibly important, makes a big difference in flavor.  Buy your meat (ground or not) the day you are cooking burgers, once you try a really fresh burger, you’ll never want one from meat that’s sat in the fridge for a few days.

Chimichurri sauce is a staple of the Argentine table and is served as a condiment.  Unlike the chimichurri that you get in restaurants in the US, the Argentine version is more like a vinaigrette than a chili sauce.  I loved it so much, I dipped my burger in the sauce.  You can adjust the recipe to your own flavor preferences, add onion or shallots, increase or decrease the red pepper, add tomatoes, etc…  Unlike many other South American countries, Argentinians do not generally eat spicy food, the flavors are much more European than what Americans think of as typically Latin.  The sauce could be used on a veggie burger, but it feels a little disloyal to the beef loving Argentinians, proceed at your own risk…

This recipe gives you instructions on best practices for grilling (giving the asado part of the burger), but yesterday it was a little cold to dig out the BBQ, so we cooked indoors on my standard grill pan and the burger was still delicious.  The only big difference is that it’s almost impossible to get enough heat on the stove top to surround the burger and melt the cheese (as you can see from the picture), taste is still good, so never fear.

This is the easiest burger yet to make – the only trick is make the sauce ahead of time.  We served it with an Argentinian Malbec, which seemed a good idea, but I tried a new one that was recommended by the little write up at shelf – it was lousy.  Las Perdices 2008 Malbec, too acidic and cheap tasting ($15.99 retail) – we tossed it and opened a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins – a good old standby, inexpensive but tasty.  There are good Malbecs out there, we won’t give up.

Argentina Burger
10 ounces of beef chuck steak
6 ounces of beef sirloin steak
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil
4 ounces manchego cheese sliced very thin
8 slices Italian bread
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
Chimichurri sauce (recipe below)

Put the chuck and the sirloin in the freezer for ½ hour before you begin (you want it cold, not frozen).  Cut the steak into 1 inch cubes.  Place ¼ of the cubes into a food processor with metal blade and pulse until steak is ground evenly.  Put the ground beef into a bowl.  Repeat with the rest of the beef.  Add salt to the ground beef and mix by hand.  Form four patties about ½-¾ inch thick.

Prepare a charcoal grill and bring to med-high heat (if you can hold your hand about 5 inches over the grill for 3-4 seconds, that’s about the right temp).  Put the cover on the grill and let it heat up for about 5 minutes.  Remove the cover, dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and oil the grill grate.  Place the burgers on the grill, cook uncovered for about 2-3 minutes, then turn.  From here the cooking time will vary depending on how you like your burger cooked.  I found for a well done burger (no pink), it takes about six more minutes, but this varies so much depending on exact thickness of burger and temp of grill that you are going to have to be the judge for your own circumstance.  When the burgers are almost done (about a minute left to cook), add the cheese and put the grill cover on.  Manchego doesn’t melt to a creamy texture, it acts more like a really well aged cheddar, so don’t overcook your burger trying to get a smooth melt.

Meanwhile, lightly oil an indoor grill pan and place the bread slices on the grill to toast.  Turn after the bread browns slightly.  Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the garlic over the toasted bread.  This can be done before you grill the burgers.

Place each patty on a piece of toast and top with 1-2 Tablespoons of Chimichurri Sauce, then finish with remaining bread.  Serve with the rest of the Chimichurri Sauce in a bowl for those who can’t resist adding more.

Chimichurri Sauce
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
¾ cup flat leaf parsley
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
Dash red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor and blend until smooth.  Let the mixture sit at room temperature overnight (minimum 12 hours).

BH&T Argentina Chimichurri

©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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18 Responses to Argentinian burger recipe

  1. Snozberries says:

    Oops, posted comment in the wrong thread. Oh well, I’ll let you know what the verdict is.

    • linda says:

      I hope your chimichurri is already made – it’s much better if it gets to sit for a while. let me know how it goes and call me if you get into any trouble or if anything is confusing.

  2. Snozberries says:

    Eureka!..Argentinian Burgers are awesome! I love the sauce, not to much garlic but enough to give that hint. I loved it, Sam loved it and even Samantha’s boyfriend loved it. His exact words were, “It’s the bomb!” Orion wasn’t to crazy about the sauce, he said it was too sweet, but Zach said, “It’s okay”…that’s a lot for Zach. I did add about 1 tsp of Ancho Chili Pepper in the burgers to subsitute the Red Peppers that were in the sauce only because I knew that would not fly to well with Zach or Orion. They were DELICIOUS! good job Shel!

    • linda says:

      YEAH!!! I’m so glad you liked it. Great idea to sub Ancho for the red pepper. “It’s okay” is more than I ever expected from Z. Tell Orion he’s crazy, that sauce isn’t sweet at all! You and Sam have the finer pallets. Thanks for being the first to try a burger recipe, now you are my official guinea pig.

      BTW – for all of my subscribers, Snozberries is my sister, so she isn’t entirely unbiased, but she is entirely correct – Argentina burgers are awesome!

  3. Gry Online says:

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d truly appreciate it.

    • linda says:

      you have to make sure you copyright you content, but you will find it gets around despite that. this hasn’t been a big problem for me yet. try putting your question out on Twitter – i’m sure there’s lots of folks with methods to protect content

  4. Argento Wine says:

    What a brilliant idea! We are going home to make this right now. Sounds delicious! There are countless ways to prepare and eat beef, as you know… and the Argentines have mastered them all! You might also enjoy reading our recent post about Argentina’s national love affair with the asado and with steak, including our own delicious recipe for Jarilla Scented Sirloin of Beef With Sun-dried Tomato Ratatouille, Grilled Vegetables and Chimichurri. Enjoy!

    • linda says:

      thanks! i’m having a great time exploring food from around the world. please let me know if you enjoy the burger. i know that chimichurri is critical and Americans often get it wrong – I hope i’ll be the exception. your recipe sounds delicious, I will put it on the menu soon

  5. Irka says:

    I’m from Argentina, and yes, we LOVE beef. Your argentinian burger sounds a lot like we make at home. We often cook them on an iron pan on the stove or in the BBQ grill when the weather is good.
    A quick note on the chimichurri: it’s just a mix of dry spices with oil and vinegar. You have it right, it has red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, parsley and oregano (we have a LOT of italian blood on our veins)
    Another “sauce”, that is very like the chimichurri but it has fresh ingredients is the “Criolla”: It has tomatoes, green and red peppers, green or white onions, (all cut in very small cubes), oil, salt and vinegar.
    You are doing an great, great job with all this international burgers- Congrats!

    • linda says:

      The shared love of beef is why I really enjoyed the Argentinian burger. I’ll have to try a Criolla sauce, sounds yummy. Thanks for the positive feedback.

  6. Rick T says:

    OK, well I was supposed to do Angola, but, in what will obviously be a theme for me, I’m going to have to search out the red palm oil, and the flour. My “usual” (meaning “closest reasonable”) store didn’t have either, and then I found them temporarily out of even okra, which torpedoed Antigua as well until I go to the larger store. So that brings me to Argentina, where for the first time, I could read the recipe and know just what I was aiming for. I thought I’d have to substitute in Peccorino Romano but to my shock, they had plenty of manchego. Since I knew where I was going here, I also took my first shortcut: the store had some 97/3 grass-fed beef already ground, and I shamelessly used that with no ill effect. I expected to like this burger and I did.

    • linda says:

      Angola has some of the toughest ingredients to find, and the flavor is one of the most exotic of the burgers. There really isn’t a substitute for the red palm oil though, it really makes the flavor. You can order it online (Amazon even sells it – they seem to sell everything). I didn’t try substitutes on the tapioca flour, but if you have a Latin market, you can probably find it there. It is also available online, but you might try substituting corn starch before paying for shipping on the flour. My Whole Foods has an aisle dedicated to gluten free products and the flour was in this aisle (as well as the flour aisle – Whole Foods drives me crazy with multiple locations for stuff).

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Argentina burger – it is the least challenging in terms of exoticness, but the simplicity of the burger is refreshing. Sometimes you just want some good beef. I completely approve of buying already ground beef – as long as it’s fresh, it will be fine.

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