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Buffalo Heat Chickenburgers with Celery/Blue Cheese Topping

Buffalo Heat Chickenburgers with Celery/Blue Cheese Topping
  

In the summer there are always a few times when burgers are expected from the grill. I rise to the occasion as required, and I make a pretty satisfying beef hamburger, but it's not all that interesting. Lately I've been working on a series of alternate burgers. This the first of them.

Buffalo chicken wings, for anyone who hasn't been paying attention to the junk food world, are meaty chicken wings, deep fried, usually with a spicy coating. They are painted with a fiery sauce and served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side, to counter the heat of the sauce. They are called "buffalo wings" because they originated in a the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.

For the chickenburger version, which adds the great summer taste of charcoal and hardwood smoke, I paint the burger with the sauce and top it with a slaw made of julienned celery and blue cheese dressing. It's been pretty popular around here, and I like it because, given my druthers, I'd rather be grilling than tending a deepfryer.

For 6 burgers.

Patties:
2 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
2 eggs
4 ounces panko flakes
2 tsp salt
2 T hot sauce
2 T white vinegar
2 small fresh hot red peppers, membranes and seeds removed, minced
(or more if you want them fiery...I'm a wimp so these are pretty mild)

Celery/Blue Cheese Slaw Topping:
3 medium celery ribs
3 thin slices vidalia onion, slices halved
1/2 C blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice
2 T hot sauce
3 T flat-leafed parsley, minced

Mix chicken with the eggs, panko, salt, hot sauce, vinegar, minced fresh hot peppers. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into burgers.

Cut ends from celery ribs and remove strings. Cut celery into julienne strips about 2-1/2" long. Mix with the onion, the blue cheese, the sour cream, the salt, the lemon juice, the hot sauce and the parsley. Correct seasoning and set aside.

Grill the burgers about 5 minutes on a side (to internal temperature of 165º) over a medium hot charcoal fire (with some hickory or other hardwood chunks added for smoke if available). See Grill Basics for equipment, procedures, etc.

When burgers are cooked, allow to rest while toasting the buns on the grill.

To assemble and serve, place each patty on a bun bottom, brush patty liberally with  Anchor Bar sauce (or other hot sauce - see note below) and top with a knot of the Celery-Blue Cheese Slaw Topping.
________________________________

Notes.

1. Sauce.
Of course there are lots of commercial sauces available that are just fine. However, because I like labor-intensive cooking, I make my own sauce, which I call Buffalo Heat Sauce:

4 dried hot New Mexico peppers
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons water
2 T white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp butter, softened
1/2 C onion, peeled, chopped
2 clove garlic, peeled, chopped
2 T tomato paste
2 T lemon juice
1 T honey

Roast the New Mexico peppers over the fire until well dried and starting to char. Remove seeds and stem. Simmer in 3 cups water 10 minutes. Drain peppers and place in a food processor bowl with the remaining 3 tablespoons water, the vinegar, salt,  butter, onion, garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice and honey. Purée the mixture. Return mixture to the pan,  and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning.

This sauce is fairly mild since I'm a wimp about hot sauces. If you want it hotter, choose a hotter variety of pepper as the base, use more peppers, or goose it with commercial hot sauces.

2. Ground chicken.
I find supermarket ground chicken to often be too dry, whether because it was ground a few days earlier or because it's too lean. The solution is to grind your own. I have a nice Porkert #10 meat grinder (manual, since I don't do it too often) that cost less than $50 including shipping. For the chicken burgers I like to use 25% white meat, 50% dark meat and about 25% chicken fat and skin. By the way, the grinding process goes smoother and the result is better if the chicken and the grinder are cooled to about 32-34º F.

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Comments

Hiya, Stephen,

When I stayed with my friend, Chef Betsy, in May, even she turned the grilling over to her husband, Pete. He turned me onto turkey burgers--I could not believe how good they were. On top, he put slices of pear and/or apples (I think Granny Smith--something nice and crunchy), with havarti cheese, which he put on as soon as he turned the burgers.

They were memorable, and I've made them since I came home.

Joe Bob says check it out.

(Yours look divine, as usual.)

Yum! I don't think I should be checking your blog when I'm hungry. ;-)This looks really good and tasty. I like hot/spicy food. I think I'd like our Buffalo Heat Chickenburgers, very much.

Paz

Stephen, what a great picture of that chicken burger. And definitely looks like a great alternative to the beef burger. Will have to put it to the test when I go home to the nice outdoor grill at our house in CT.
Will have to check out if you have any good veggie burger recipes too.

Wow that looks delicious. It certainly beats those deep-fried chik'n strips soaked in red sauce I see in most restaurants.

I recently tried a different recipe for buffalo chicken burgers. Delicious! It's such a neat idea, w/o the deep-fried mess that accompanies the original wings. I have to try this recipe for buffalo sauce though. Looks yummy!

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