Cookin’ in Camo: Southwest Goat Burger with Griddled Onions and Avocado
Tyler Viars 09.09.14
My first goat-eating experience came while filming with Sub7 in Kenya. In those parts of the world, living on availability and sustenance rather than choice is a way of life. I remember a local singeing the hair off over an open flame and quartering the animal with a homemade hatchet. Later it sat on our plates waiting to be consumed. At first I was hesitant to dig in, but it was surprisingly enjoyable.
Did I torch the hair or fortify my own hatchet to prepare the goat in this recipe? No. However, I did grind my own meat, create my own smoky spice blend, and sear these burgers perfectly on a “white hot cast” iron skillet. Topped with griddled onions, sliced avocado, goat bacon, and a dollop of refreshing chipotle mayo, this seriously becomes the GOAT—as in the Greatest Of All Time!
Note: If you are unable to find goat, this recipe works great with a variety of meats. I have used venison, beef, and even fresh ground piggy!
Spice blend (makes roughly 2/3-cup)
- 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 teaspoons ground chile de arbol
- 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons onion salt
- 2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2-cup mayonnaise (I often substitute Greek yogurt, which adds a nice tang)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo (found in the Mexican asle of most grocery stores)
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 12 slices goat bacon (my local butcher makes it but thick-cut pork bacon works perfectly)
- 2 pounds goat leg (my local butcher informed the their goat meat is close to 95 percent lean so I grinded a half-pound of beef suet to create a 75-25 meat-to-fat percentage)*
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds, each stuck with wooden pick to keep it together
- 2 firm-ripe avocado fruits removed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
- Canola olive oil for brushing on onion and avocado
- 6 fresh, soft hamburger buns toasted
- Cilantro sprigs to top
- Kosher salt
By now, everyone should know step one is always the same: turn on some music and pour a drink!
Combine all the ingredients for the spice blend into a small container or Mason jar. Shake to blend.
In a food processor or blender, puree the mayonnaise, Dijon, and the chipotle until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and reserve for use.
Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the bacon slices while the pan is still cold. Adding the bacon to a cold skillet allows the fat to render more efficiently because it cooks slower. Roughly five minutes after you hear it sizzle and the bacon is golden-brown, flip the slices and render the other side until crisp. Transfer the slices to a paper towel to rest. Leave the rendered fat in the pan and remove from heat.
Gently mix the beef and form into 6 evenly-sized patties. Make sure the patties are larger than the bun. I hate biting into just bread! Tip: to prevent the burgers from becoming bulged-up “flying saucers,” press your thumb into the center of each patty, leaving an indentation. As the meat cooks, the thumbprint will disappear and the burgers will have a perfectly level shape. Season both sides liberally with the spice rub. Follow that up with a generous pinch of kosher salt to each patty. Let rest until ready to cook.
With a griddle over medium-high heat, brush both sides of onion rounds and avocado slices with the canola oil and add tablespoon of oil to the griddle. Season the onions and avocado liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Griddle the onions until softened and beginning to char. This takes roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add the avocado and griddle until beautifully golden brown or 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Crank up the cast iron skillet up to a medium-high heat. Once heated, sear the patties for roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side or until a deep crust forms on the burger. Flip and allow the crust to develop on the other side. Again, this takes approximately 3 minutes. For me, this is a perfect medium-rare to medium pending on thickness. For a more done burger, move the pan to the cooler side of the grill or into a pre-heated 350-degree oven until an instant-read thermometer reads the desired temperature, with 160 being well done. Remove from heat and allow the burgers to rest for a minimum of 5 minutes (I prefer 10).
Place each burger on the bottom of a toasted bun, top with the chipotle mayo, two slices of bacon, the avocado, and griddled onions. Add a few leaves of picked cilantro and place on the top bun. Stop drooling and get ready.
Hunt, cook, eat, share, enjoy, and, as always, keep Cookin’ in Camo!
Be sure and share your own version of this recipe, thoughts, questions, and pictures with me. I want to hear from you. Post on OutdoorHub and also on my social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Editor’s note: This recipe is the eighth in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated “forest to fork” hunter and professional chef. Click here to read last week’s recipe, bison heart anticucho.