Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger, also known as Chimichurri Dominicano, or Chimi Dominicano, is a traditional Dominican street food famous for the flavorful, juicy burger and the special Dominican Sauce. These gourmet burger patties are specially made with homemade ground short ribs, beef chuck & beef brisket seasoned with Dominican flavors. Topped with grilled tomatoes, red onions and shredded cabbage, and special seasoned Dominican special pink sauce, I created this mouthwatering, gourmet, chimichurri burger as part of Burger Month.
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Hello my friends. This Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger has been on the back burner for a while, and is finally making a big entrance at the perfect time to celebrate National Burger Month, Memorial Day weekend and the summer BBQ season. This burger recipe is easy to make, but it will take a bit of your time because everything is homemade with the best quality ingredients and therefore, I’m calling this recipe “Gourmet Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger.”
Video Steps for Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger
Dominican Street Food
Being from the Dominican Republic, I have the privilege of trying all kinds of delicious, fatty and full of flavor Dominican street food. When you go to DR, on almost every one of the most popular and busy streets, you will find corner chimi carts, hot dog carts, and other street vendors serving cold Presidente beers, chimichurri hamburger, hot dogs, empanadas stuffed with a whole egg and then fried (fried stuffed dough), Yaniqueques (crispy, flaky, deep-fried dough), sandwiches, chicharron (fried pork rinds/skin), Pastelitos (small version of empanadas), and many other delicious street food. If you want to know more about Dominican Republic delicious food, check out this excellent blog post from In Between Pictures. I really enjoyed reading her post. I also made a recipe here for Dominican Buñuelos which are fried dough balls soaked in vanilla cinnamon syrup.
Like every island in the Caribbean, our food is similar but with different names, different ways to make it, and every island has their own unique seasoning. Caribbean cuisine has its roots from the African slaves that Spanish, French, British and Netherland settlers brought with them during the colonization after they extinguished the native indigenes from the islands.
In Dominican we have a deep influence from the Spanish and African cuisine, and even a Middle Eastern influence from a wave of Lebanese immigrants that arrived at DR in the 19th century. One of the dishes Lebanese brought to Dominican Republic is Quipe. Here in the US it is known as Kibbeh. Quipe is very popular and it’s served during birthdays, meetings and funerals (repass).
There is also another kind of “street food” that is very popular after people leave the cafes or clubs late at night. I am putting “street food” in quotes because this food is ordered late at night but technically in an eatery. For example, in Santo Domingo there is a restaurant called Adrian Tropical located in the Malecon (a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront). Every time I go to DR, I make my obligatory stop here during lunch or very late at night with my friend Luis (? don’t tell Geoffrey). At this place I always order Mondongo with white rice and avocado. It is one of my favorite dishes. Here you can also order Mofongo, fried meat or fish, sancocho and many other Caribbean dishes. What is Sopa de mondongo? It’s a soup made from diced tripe (the stomach of a cow or pig) slow-cooked with vegetables.
Ok, let me stop talking about other Dominican food and get back to this juicy, messy and full of flavor Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger. I will guide you through the preparation and assembly process because at first, it’s time consuming. But it’s totally worth it. I suggest making the patties the day before and keep them in the refrigerator overnight. This step will help to keep the patties together without falling apart during the grilling process. I also suggest making extra patties and freeze them. Once you make this recipe, you will want to eat more of them sooner than later.
How was the Chimi Dominicano Hamburger created?
The Chimichurri burger is also called Chimi burger, Dominican burger, or just chimi! I am not able to confirm this story, but what I was told by friends is that this Dominican street food was created by an Argentinian immigrant who settled in DR in the 80's. He opened up a food cart in his driveway and served what would be an Argentinean "choripan" with chimichurri sauce. Back then Dominicans started call it "chimichurri" and with time, as all good Dominicans like to shortcut names, it started to be called just "chimi." This was the beginning of the creation for street food carts which later served the dish. Different variations were created by adding ingredient such a cabbage, carrots, etc. The idea to add the different toppings was to bulk up the burger and save the amount of meat used in the patties. The bread typically used is “Pan de Agua” which translate to water bread. This bread is similar to the French baguette.
In my opinion this story makes a lot of sense for several reasons. The first reason is that the name “chimichurri” comes from the famous Argentinian sauce made with parsley, garlic, olive oil, red vinegar and oregano. The second reason is that the base of the Dominican special pink sauce used in the chimi burger is very similar to the Argentinian salsa called “Golf Sauce.” Golf sauce is a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise. I will tell you more about the Dominican special salsa but keep reading?.
How to make Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger (Chimi burger)
There are four key factors that will land you with the best chimichurri burger: the meat, the bread, the sauce & the topping. The chimi burger has to be build with the exact ingredients, but you can make some variations like the kind of meat (or blend of meat) or add cheese.
The Meat: For any burger the right combination of lean and fat is essential for a juicy and flavorful patty. The traditional chimichurri burger patty is oval but now most people make it round. I did the round shape. I picked the following beef cuts:
- Beef Chuck - It’s the preferred choice for ground beef because of the richness of flavor and balance of meat and fat.
- Beef Brisket – I selected the flat cut of the brisket which is less fatty than the point cut. This cut is a bit more expensive. It has a very beefy flavor.
- Short Ribs – I chose this cut of meat because it is fattier and will provide the patty with the juicy and beefy texture and flavor.
Note: I bought the meat in chunks and I grounded it myself. You can save time and ask your local butcher to grind the combined meat for you.
The Bread: Because the chimichurri burger is a bit messy, you need a bread that will hold together and soak the juices without breaking. The bread should be a bit crusty but soft inside. Here are some options:
- Pan de Agua (water bread) - This is the traditional bread used for the chimi burger. This bread has a long oval shape. In some regions in DR they are using pan de agua, and in other regions they are using regular burger buns. This bread is similar to the French baguette.
- Portuguese Bread, Portuguese Rolls or papo secos – This bread is hard and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
- French Baguette – If you pick this bread remember to make the beef patty in the shape of the bread.
- Baguette Style Burger Bun – this is the bread I use for this recipe.
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The Special Dominican Pink Sauce or Salsa Golf – The starting recipe we use is the Argentinean golf sauce which is ketchup and mayonnaise. What makes it special is the addition of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, orange juice & Traditional Dijon Mustard. This sauce varies because everyone adds their own touch.
The Toppings: You grill briefly the tomatoes, the red onion and the shredded cabbage. For the cabbage we add some special pink sauce before sauteing on the flat griddle.
Recommendations on How to Cook Beef Patties & Veggies
I recommend using the flat surface of the grill or grill pan because on a grooved surface the meat could break and fall through the holes.
- I use an electric grill with the flat surface, or a large cast iron skillet. I cook the ingredients in the following order; beef patties, red onion, tomatoes, shredded cabbage and then the burger buns.
- Set the flat grill at medium-high heat
- Cook the first side of the burgers for around 3-4 minutes and the second side around two minutes or to your liking.
- Using the spatula, press both sides of burger patties for a few seconds to flat them out a bit.
- Cook the veggies for a minute or two each side.
How to freeze the raw chimi burger patties?
If you make extra burger meat, in a flat square plastic container, place the first layer of meat. Keep additional layers separate between waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together. Make sure the plastic container has a tightly closed lid. You can keep the patties in the freezer for 6 months.
Steps on How to Grind Your Beef at Home
1. Cut the meats into 3” long strips and ¾” thick. This size strips feed smoothly through the grinder.
2. After you cut the meat, place them in a plastic bag or a small tray and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3. Place the clean food grinder attachments in a plastic bag and keep them in the freeze for at least 30 minutes. Partially freezing the meat and the attachments will help keep the meat cold during the grinding process.
4. After 30 minutes, set a large bowl with ice and a small bowl on top.
5. Take the attachments out of the freezer and set it up using the coarse grinding plate and keep the fine grinding plate in the freezer. Then take out the meat.
6. Set the stand mixer to medium speed and start to pass the meat strips through the feeding tube. After you grind the whole batch, fold gently with your hands or spatula and put the ground meat back into the refrigerator.
7. Remove the coarse grinding plate and set up the fine grinding plate. Take the meat out of the refrigerator and regrind the meat through the fine grinding plate.
8. At this point you are all set. Keep the meat cold in the refrigerator until you prepare the seasoning for the Chimichurri hamburger or another recipe.
Special notes for Grinding the Meat and Preparing the Burgers:
- If you will be grinding your own meat, be aware that you may have more ground meat than what you need for the amount the seasoning made. What I do is... I know I want to make 6 x 6oz burgers. So, I separate 36oz of ground beef. I put it into a separate bowl, add the seasoning, mix, and then weight 6 portions of 6oz.
- Place the beef patties on a waxed paper linen baking tray, and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Keep the beef patties in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
- After I portion the seasoned ground meat, I use a burger mold to shape and compact the meat. But you can do it as you always do. I just love my kitchen gadgets. I didn’t find the specific one I use on Amazon, but here are some very cool burger molds that look great.
How to make the Dominican Seasoning for the Chimichurri Hamburger
In a small food processor, add chopped cilantro, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, dried Dominican Oregano, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Puree the ingredients, and then add this mixture to the ground beef and combine gently. Do not overwork the meat.
Special note about the seasoning: I only use dried Dominican Oregano because it is strong and it’s the real thing. If you try this oregano, you will never go back to the boring options that you find at the supermarket. I bring mine directly from Dominican Republic. I found this Dominican Oregano option on Amazon, but I haven’t tasted it yet but the reviews are great.
Making the Special Chimichurri Hamburger Pink Sauce
Now no Chimichurri Burger is complete without the special pink sauce. This sauce is super easy to make, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry. In a small bowl add the mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce & dijon mustard. Mix until it is well-combined. What do you think about those ingredients? Interesting, right?
I know this post is extra long compared to others. I hope you found it interesting and useful. We also hope you enjoy our Gourmet Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger recipe as much as we do. This is the perfect recipe to start celebrating the summer season. Let me know in the comment section what you think about this recipe, and if you try it. If you share this recipe or your creation on social media, tag us @spoonabilities on Instagram and use the hashtag #Spoonabilities. Thank you.
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UPDATE: This recipe is part of the 11 Best & Favorite Summertime Grilling Recipes and check out this new Spiced Lamb Burger with Fennel Cucumber & Celery Slaw.
More recipes from the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Arepa Dulce De Maiz | Cornmeal Coconut Cake with Pumpkin
- Jalea de Batata Dulce | White Sweet Potato Pudding
- Fried Dough Balls | Dominican Buñuelos
- Habichuelas con Dulce | Cream of Sweet Beans
- Morir Soñando | Milk and Orange Juice Drink
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