Beef Burgers with Sweet-n-Smoky Ketchup

Serving Size: 4
Prep Time:
Total Time:

To spiff up a big, juicy burger, try making this sweet, spicy ketchup, which gets its smoky flavor from dried pasilla chiles.


  • 4 dried pasilla or ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 brioche hamburger bun, split and toasted
  • 1.5 Pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
  • 0.25 cup apple cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 0.5 small onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved and seeded
  • 4 unpeeled garlic clove
  • 2 plum tomato, halved
  • butter lettuce, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium skillet, toast the chiles over moderately high heat, pressing with a spatula and turning once, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with very hot water. Let stand for 30 minutes, until the chiles are completely rehydrated.
  2. Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the plum tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño and onion with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just soft; let cool slightly. Peel the garlic.
  3. Drain the pasilla chiles and transfer to a blender. Add the plum tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, onion, vinegar and molasses and puree. Season the ketchup with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant and beefsteak tomato slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Form the ground beef into 4 burgers, 1/2 inch thick; brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until the burgers are lightly charred and medium-rare, 7 minutes.
  6. Spread the ketchup on the buns. Top with the lettuce, burgers, grilled eggplant and tomato and serve, passing any additional ketchup at the table.

Make ahead: The ketchup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Recipe Credit: Tim Byres
Image Credit: Marcus Nilsson

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