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Jalapeno Cheese Burgers

Several years ago, my husband and I discovered this local restaurant in the downtown area of Winston Salem. Just like the first time I go anywhere to eat, the menu was a little overwhelming, not because there was a huge selection, but because I always wonder what is really good. After going to the restaurant several times, I finally worked up the courage to try something that I had never eaten before in my life --- ostrich! To say I was a little hesitant would be an understatement, however, I was ready to take it on and it was highly rated by the service crew. Additionally, the ostrich was from a local farm using spent grain from the brewery. Since I am very fond of supporting local and eating what is grown around you, that made it even more appealing.
When I got this burger, I was immediately in love. It was amazing! However, like most things on menus that I come to love, after a year or so, it was discontinued because the supply could not keep up with the demand. So what was I going to do???? I decided to take the flavors of the ostrich burger and add them to a standard beef patty. The results were great. I even made slider versions of this recipe last year for a tailgate, topped them with pepper jack cheese, and served them on Hawaiian style rolls and the crew went crazy!!! The recipe is very versatile. Feel free to play with the protein used, i.e. ground turkey or chicken, and even the heat level, seeds in or out of the jalapeno.
1 Pound 80/20 Ground Chuck
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Minced
1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Cheese
Hamburger Buns
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to work until incorporated but not overworking the meat.
2. Portion the meat into 4 equal size patties, slightly bigger than the buns you plan to serve on. As the patties are formed, create a well in the middle by pushing your thumb down. By doing this, the burgers will retain their shape better and are less likely to bulge in the middle.
3. Grill over medium heat until desired doneness, flipping only once. A good rule of thumb is to watch for the juices to puddle in the well created in the middle and the meat to be cooked at least half the way up the side of the burger.
4. Top with your choice of cheese.
5. Serve on a toasted bun with desired toppings.

****Note: I would normally not seed the jalapeno, however, while pregnant, sometimes the spice can cause discomfort. The unseeded jalapeno provides a nice punch of spice. However, even the seeded jalapeno gives the burger wonderful flavor!****

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