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Get Grilling with Chef Lisa Dahl’s Best Burger Recipe

Tasty tips and tricks for creating the perfect patty.

By Christina Barrueta | Photography by Scott Yates

Summer is prime grilling season, and nothing defines a backyard barbecue more than the smoky, savory scent of burgers sizzling on the grill. The perfect hamburger delivers a juicy patty with a seasoned, charred crust begging to be embellished with your favorite condiments on a soft, toasted bun. 

Great grilling is an art, and no one knows this better than the winner of the Scottsdale Culinary Festival’s 2018 Burger Battle, chef Lisa Dahl. “There are many elements to a good burger, ” she says. “Being outdoors with friends and family—that’s part of it.”

Dahl’s newest culinary concept, set for a 2019 debut in Sedona Vista Village, is Butterfly Burger, an ode to this American classic and a nod to her Scottsdale Culinary Festival trophies and recent appearance on The Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” grilling competition. Dahl plans a chic restaurant featuring a full bar with an emphasis on Arizona wine and craft beer, bourbon-spiked milkshakes, sides such as Parmesan-dusted duck fat fries and quinoa tabbouleh, and a dozen “buddy sauces” for dipping and dressing. “It’s a couture burger experience, meaning that it’s an elevated concept with a lounge atmosphere,” she says. “It’ll be a fun menu with burgers influenced by different ethnic persuasions, and you may have a hard time choosing which one to order.”

Anchoring the menu will be a selection of mouthwatering burgers including her Chimi Burger, which contains all the traditional elements fine-tuned to perfection—a melted blanket of white cheddar cheese, crisp romaine lettuce and crunchy buttermilk onion rings. The bun is brushed with a garlic compound butter, the patty seasoned with a zesty chimichurri, and the burger gilded with a sophisticated version of Thousand Island dressing that she calls Louis remoulade. “It’s the perfect balance with a hint of sweetness and a little smoky spice that doesn’t overpower the meat,” says Dahl. “When I created this burger, I thought if we did it right and it was balanced in every way, you could bite into it and think it’s the best burger you’ve ever had. It’s not my fanciest; it’s the one for anybody who loves a good old American burger.

For more information, see Sources.

CHIMI BURGER

11/2 pounds all-natural ground beef

4 brioche buns

8 slices medium sharp white cheddar cheese

Chimichurri sauce (see recipe)

Louis remoulade (see recipe)

1 head romaine lettuce

Signature compound butter (see recipe)

Onion rings (see recipe)

Cornichons, Peruvian peppers or Peppadew peppers

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat grill to 450 degrees. Cut brioche buns in half; spread with Signature compound butter.

Season one side of patties with salt and pepper and grill approximately 2-4 minutes for medium-rare (meat thermometer should read 145 degrees). Season second side of patties with salt and pepper and repeat. Spoon chimichurri sauce over the burger, completely covering the surface. Top each burger with 2 slices of medium sharp cheddar cheese, placing slices so that melted cheese will cover the top and sides of the burger. Grill buns buttered-side down until lightly browned. Place burger on bottom half of bun, top with a dollop of Louis remoulade, followed by a generous stack of onion rings. Add romaine lettuce. Spread a dollop of Louis remoulade on inside surface of top bun. Garnish with baby cornichons, Peruvian peppers or Peppadews.

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

11/2 cups parsley, finely minced

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chili flakes

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 tablespoon coarse black pepper

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup light extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

 

Blend all ingredients in order, mixing in oil last. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Taste and add additional salt and oregano if desired. Can be made up to five days ahead and kept refrigerated.

SIGNATURE COMPOUND BUTTER

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups unsalted butter

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced

11/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

 

Soften butter to room temperature. Combine all dry ingredients. Beat butter and olive oil in mixer until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and whip until butter forms soft peaks.

LOUIS REMOULADE

1 cup mayonnaise 

1/2 cup Peppadews, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 tablespoon shallots, chopped

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¾ cup ketchup

 

In a small bowl, combine chopped Peppadews and shallots. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine vegetables with liquid ingredients, then fold in dry mustard and cayenne pepper. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.

ONION RINGS

3 cups flour

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced

Buttermilk

Vegetable oil

 

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Soak onions in buttermilk, then dredge through flour mixture, shaking off excess. Heat 1 inch of oil to approximately 375 degrees in a frying pan. Add onions and fry until lightly browned and crispy, approximately 3 minutes, separating rings with tongs. Drain on paper towels.

CHEF LISA DAHL’S GRILLING TIPS

PREPARING YOUR GRILL First and foremost, the heating element must be properly prepared. Even if you are using a skillet or grill pan on the stove, it has to be taken just as seriously as a grill with wood or charcoal. It must be hot enough to get that perfect sear. On the other hand, if I throw my burgers onto a grill where the coals have not died down properly, it will cook too fast.

SEASON CONSISTENTLY Locking in the flavor of the meat with even seasoning is key. Season each patty evenly, covering all surfaces. Even if you use nothing more than salt and pepper, this will give you a phenomenal burger.

COOKING THE MEAT Let your meat rest for a few minutes to take the chill off before cooking. It doesn’t need to be room temperature, but you don’t want it to be ice cold. When cooking, let the first side get a good sear, and flip only once. You want the outside charred and the inside moist.

THE PERFECT MELT It’s imperative that the cheese wraps around the sides of the burger, not just sits in the middle. I use two pieces. The cut should not be super thin or too thick to melt, and the thickness of the slices should be uniform. When the cheese drapes around the sides of the patty, it will hold the moisture in, and every bite will be sublime.

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