The Argentinians know their meat. Masters of the grill, they like nothing more than to season their meat with a bit of kick and sear it over an open fire. And they put chimichurri sauce on everything, from breakfast to their late night meal (don’t even think about eating dinner there before 9 pm).
What is chimichurri sauce you might ask? The recipes are many, from traditional green to red, from mild to hot, to “holy cow, I think my mouth just melted” inferno level. This recipe is pretty basic, mild, but full of flavor. It’s best made in a blender or food processor, but can be made by hand in a pinch. Chimichurri sauce has been around a lot longer than modern kitchen appliances.
The ingredient list is pretty simple, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh oregano, fresh cilantro, minced garlic and a diced shallot. Give it a whirl with a pinch of red pepper flakes, a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar and you have a basic chimichurri. Like heat? Add a diced jalapeno to the mix. If possible, mix the sauce a day in advance to let the true flavor stand out.
The ground elk is seasoned both by mixing flavors into the meat and by a liberal shake of spice on top.
To keep true to the Argentinian style, I like to grill these burgers over hot coals, but a bit cooking them in a cast-iron skillet works as well.
¾ cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
½ cup fresh flat-leafed parsley
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 shallot, diced
1 teaspoon salt
Healthy pinch red pepper flakes
1 diced jalapeno pepper (optional)
4 pounds elk or venison burger, ground 80/20 with beef fat or bacon
1/2 cup salsa
1 diced shallot
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoons cumin
Make the chimichurri sauce by mixing all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend well, stopping several times to scrape sides, until the mixture emulsifies into a thick sauce. Cover and refrigerate for up to overnight to let the flavors build.
In a large bowl, mix ground meat with salsa and the chopped shallot. Form into half-pound patties. To keep the patties flat while they grill, make an indentation with your thumb into the center of the patty.
Mix the dry rub ingredients and sprinkle liberally over each patty. Grill to desired doneness and top with cheese of choice.
To plate, top the burger with chimichurri sauce in place of the normal catsup, mustard or mayo.
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