This article was originally published by The Mennonite

June recipe: Smokey ancho cheddar burgers

June is a month for burgers, and we wanted to share one of our favorites: Smokey ancho cheddar burgers. Despite the ample use of homemade garlic ancho chile paste, these burgers are not spicy, but bursting with sweet roasted garlic and smokey, earthy, dried anchos. Tangy melted cheddar, addictive ancho mayonnaise and bright bursts of Yucatán quick pickled red onions garnish this delicious burger to mouthwatering perfection.

Yield: 6 medium burgers



  • 2 pounds ground beef (we like a 80/20, lean to fat)
  • 3 tablespoons garlic ancho chile paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 drops liquid smoke (optional)

Garlic ancho chile paste:

  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt

Ancho mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons ancho paste
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (about 1/4 of a lime)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper



For the garlic ancho chile paste:

  • Preheat grill or heavy pan on high heat. Spread out the dried ancho chiles and garlic. Toast for 3-5 minutes, turning frequently, until the garlic and anchos soften, and brown (even blacken in spots). The anchos may puff up, don’t worry.
  • With tongs, remove anchos and garlic from heat. Set the garlic aside. Cut the stems off the anchos and shake out and discard the seeds and stems.
  • In a small bowl, tear up the anchos and cover with the boiling water. Cover the bowl and allow to soften while you prepare the spices.
  • Heat a small pan over medium heat. To the dry hot pan, add the paprika, oregano, black pepper, cumin, and cloves. Toast the spices, stirring constantly until fragrant (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  • Add all ingredients (toasted garlic, toasted and soaked anchos with soaking liquid, toasted spices, and salt) to a blender or food processor. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until it forms a smooth paste.

For the ancho mayonnaise: Combine all ancho mayonnaise ingredients (mayonnaise, ancho paste, lime, salt and pepper) in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

For the burgers:

  • Preheat grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Clean grill thoroughly, and whip down the clean grate quickly with a lightly oiled cloth. This will reduce sticking during grilling.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the burger ingredients (ground beef, ancho paste, Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, pepper and liquid smoke). Using your hands, gently mix until the ingredients are uniformly combined. Don’t mix more than necessary.
  • Divide the spiced burger meat into 6 equal portions. Using your hands, form each potion into an even patty, about 4 inches across and 3/4 inch tall. Uncooked patties can be frozen for up to one month for later grilling.
  • Grill the burgers on high heat for 4 minutes, with the lid open. Flip the burgers, and top with cheddar cheese. Close the lid, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes depending on desired doneness. We like our burgers medium.
  • Top burgers with generous spoonfuls of ancho mayonnaise, picked onions and lettuce. Serve immediately on toasted buns.

The Hungry Hounds is the food blog of Paul and Rebecca Shetler Fast, who serve with Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti. Learn more about MCC Haiti at their blog,

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