Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Randy Mon

Time 35 minutes. You'll have plenty of the spicy, tangy sauce left over. Have it with grilled chicken or ribs.

Yield: Serves 4
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 35 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 612
  • Calories from fat: 50%
  • Protein: 36g
  • Fat: 34g
  • Saturated fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrate: 41g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 1175mg
  • Cholesterol: 112mg


  • Sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 3 chiles), plus 1 tbsp. sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Burgers
  • 1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 sesame hamburger buns
  • 4 slices ripe tomato
  • 4 leaves butter or romaine lettuce


  1. 1. Make sauce: Purée all sauce ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.
  2. 2. Make burgers: In a bowl, combine beef and 1 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper (if using preformed burgers, sprinkle with salt and pepper). Form into 4 patties about 3/4 in. thick, making a slight depression in each to help keep burgers flat as they cook. Put on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to grill.
  3. 3. Preheat a grill for medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds).
  4. 4. Sprinkle onions with remaining salt and pepper and 1 tsp. oil. Grill, covered, until softened, turning once, 8 minutes total.
  5. 5. Meanwhile, rub burgers with 2 tsp. oil and grill, covered, turning once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. In the last few moments of cooking, lay a slice of cheese on each burger. Lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill to toast slightly.
  6. 6. Transfer buns to a platter and fill with burgers and onions. Spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp. barbecue sauce on top and add a slice of tomato and a lettuce leaf.
  7. Make ahead: Sauce: 1 week chilled.
  8. Note: Nutritional analysis is per burger, with 1 1/2 tbsp. sauce and trimmings.
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