Red, White, and Blueberry Burger

Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.

Suggested Use:
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.

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Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chipotle chiles (about three chiles- rehydrated in hot water first)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle chile can)
5 rounded tablespoons blueberry jam or preserves

Fried onions:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 rounded teaspoon fresh ground sea salt
1/2 rounded teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 rounded teaspoon Creole-type seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s or Emeril’s Essence)
1/4 cup rendered bacon fat or oil
1 white onion, peeled and sliced very thin (about 1/16 inch) into strings or rings
Burger Buns
Approximately 2 pounds ground chuck beef
15 ounces blue cheese, preferably Point Reyes Original Blue, sliced
Curly red leaf lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Large red tomato, sliced


Yield: 6 burgers

For the Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
In a food processor, combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, garlic, chipotle chiles, and blueberry jam. Purée all the ingredients until very smooth. This makes about 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, which will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

Make the Fried Onions:
In a large plastic bag, combine the flour, baking powder, sea salt, pepper and Creole seasoning, shaking to thoroughly mix together. Add the onions and shake to coat. Transfer the onions to a bowl, tapping off any excess flour mixture.

In a cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat until hot, add the bacon fat. When the fat is hot, add the onions in small batches, frying until crisp and golden brown, three to five minutes per batch. Drain the onions on a paper towel and set aside.

Final assembly:
Moist mesquite wood chips in a smoker device (or foil pouch) for the grill, if using an outdoor grill Ground chuck hamburger patties (formed to match the width of the bun), seasoned with garlic salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Brown burger buns, sliced in half. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. If using a grill, fit a smoker device (or foil pouch) with the mesquite wood chips to smoke while grilling. Oil the grill top and add the burgers. Grill the burgers on each side until cooked through to desired doneness, eight to 12 minutes. Top the burgers with cheese and continue to grill just until the cheese melts, one to two minutes.

When the burgers are almost finished grilling, toast the buns: Place the buns, cut side down, on the grill to lightly toast. Remove the burgers and buns.

Assemble the burgers:
Dress the cut sides (top and bottom) of each burger with a good spread of barbecue sauce. Top each bun bottom with a burger patty. Top the cheese with another dollop of barbecue sauce, then divide the onions, mounding a pile of onions over each burger. Top each mound of onions with a slice of tomato, followed with two to three leaves of lettuce. Top each burger with a bun top and serve immediately.