Tex Mex or Mex Tex: Take Two

Talking about American foods enriched by Mexican ingredients, I can’t leave out those tasty, juicy and smoky Ancho Chile hamburgers. My mother used to make them for our birthday parties as me and my sisters grew into teenagers. We felt more hip having funky burgers instead of kid sized tacos. Plus, they were a hit with our friends.

They are a snap to make and for the Mexican spin you just need to prepare a seasoning paste with Ancho Chiles.  Anchos, being ultra mild and somewhat fruity with a hint of prunes, make an instant click with the meat.

My mother used to mix half veal and half beef, when making hamburgers, meatloaf or meatballs. It works out well, but it is not necessary. She used to serve these hamburgers with the traditional American trimmings: sliced onions, tomatoes, fresh lettuce, ketchup and mustard.

But when I was reminiscing with my friend Andrea about these Mexicanized American dishes, she suggested we try a citrusy mayo spread. What a surprise! That tangy spread makes these tasty hamburgers bounce off the walls out of happiness…

I wouldn’t dare call this hamburger traditional Mexican food, although the recipe has been in my family for more than four decades. When you think about it, once an ingredient or a dish of a country enters another country and becomes accepted, it gains a life of its own.

I don’t think there ever is a right or wrong take in the kitchen (Diana Kennedy may just be aiming at me with a rifle now… ). It seems to me that it is all fair game as long as you get to know your ingredients and how to use them. And of course…there has to be a worthwhile and delicious result.

Ancho Chile Mexican Hamburgers with Lime Aioli

Hamburguesas con Chile Ancho y Aioli de Limon

Recipe Yield

8 burgers

Cooking time

23 minutes

Rate this recipe

5 from 1 vote


For the burgers:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 1/2 cup white onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 ancho chiles rinsed, seeded and soaked (explanation follows)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground, or to taste
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • safflower or corn oil

For the lime aioli:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lime about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon grate lime rind
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the garnishes:

  • 8 hamburger buns
  • yellow mustard
  • ketchup
  • 2 red tomatoes sliced
  • 8 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 white onion sliced

To Prepare

  • Rinse the ancho chiles. On a chopping board, make a slit down their side and take out all of their seeds, veins and stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small bowl and cover with 1/2 cup boiling hot water. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Places chiles in the blender along with the soaking liquid, onion and garlic, and puree until smooth.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and veal. Add the chile mixture, two lightly beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Mix until it is all well incorporated.
  • Heat the griddle or pan over medium heat until very hot, about 6 to 8 minutes. Brush some oil on the griddle or pan.
  • With your hands, mold the patties and place them on the hot griddle or pan. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on how well cooked you like your burgers. I like them medium-well, so it is about 5 minutes per side for me.
  • Place the garnishes on the table so that everyone can choose to their liking.
  • To make the lime aioli, place everything in a mixing bowl, and just mix it all up!
  • If you want to make this hamburger into a cheeseburger, Monterey jack is a great companion. Just place a slice of cheese on to the burger once you flipped it and let it melt as it finishes cooking.


14comments inTex Mex or Mex Tex: Take Two

  1. Kathy Corcoran

    Jun 26

    enjoyed this recipe.
    Did you have a hamburger recipe that also included chilis in adobo sauce in addition to the
    dried anchos ?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 27

      Hey Kathy! I have this recipe for a burger that is served with a chipotle in adobo mayo, hope you like it!

  2. Kimberly A. Todd

    May 05

    Hi, Pati. Made these tonight for Cinco de Mayo, and what a hit!!! I used only 2 pounds of meat and adjusted everything but the egg accordingly. I probably should have used one egg, rather than both. They didn’t stay together, so I just broke it up, let it get nice and brown and then melted the cheese in it so it stayed together. Yum. I devoured mine as burgers with all the fixings. My husband went gluten free and ate the meat on tortilla chips. My 17 year-old son did both. He used the leftover aioli as sour cream on his “nachos”. Thank you for an awesome recipe.

    1. Pati

      May 09

      I am thrilled the family liked it, Kimberly! Thank you for trying my recipe!

  3. Kimberly A. Todd

    May 04

    Since I wasn’t paying attention to the calendar and made your awesome bricklayer tacos last night, I’m doing the burgers for Cinco de Mayo. My mouth is already watering.

  4. Roberto Martinez

    May 18

    My wife and I saw your program on tortilla soup and could not fine it on your soup recipe. Can you sent recipe? Please.

    1. Pati

      May 19

      Hi Roberto, Thank you for watching! Here’s the tortilla soup recipe:

  5. vanessa

    Apr 18

    Ill be making these Monday. My hubby day off sounds easy to do thank you 🙂 I really hope my boys like them 😀

    1. Pati

      Apr 18

      Hola Vanessa, I hope everyone likes them! Thank you for trying the recipe for your family!! All my best to you.

  6. Dianne Pharo

    Sep 10

    I’d looking for your recipe for Tampico-style steak combo. I watched that show on PBS right while you were evaluating the done dish, and I missed the recipe/cooking part… Thank you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 11

      Hi Dianne, all recipes for the shows are posted on the TV show section of the site. Here is the one for the Tampico Style steak combo:

  7. Alex Valencia-Reyes

    Jul 07

    My wife and I love your show. I can’t wait to see the recipes of the new season. Sigue adelante, Patti!!!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 12

      Thank you Alex!

  8. Judy C.

    Aug 13

    I love your show, but trying to find a recipe is difficult. Where is the “Pepito Sandwich” recipe featured on your show today, Saturday, August 13th? My husband is a sandwich lover and when I saw this recipe, I thought, wouldn’t this be a great dinner treat for him next week. HELP!

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