On The Grill: Poblano and Cheddar Elk Burgers

It is not often enough that people send me pictures and stories about what they are cooking on the grill. I love to hear about what others have grilling and especially when they add some local flavor to the fire.

Jeremy and I knew each other two decades ago while living in Vermont’s rural Northeast Kingdom and attending Lyndon State College. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that he had also been living in the rocky mountains for some time and working in Boulder Colorado.

Recently, Jeremy made this poblano and cheddar elk burger with a flavorful twist and I thought it looked fantastic.


  • Elk and Poblano Pepper Burgers2 lbs elk
  • 1cup cheddar
  • 3 strips of bacon minced to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet mesquite posse
  • 1 tablespoon prepared dry rub
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 roasted poblano chilies cleaned and chopped
  • Panko breadcrumbs

Start by making your bacon paste. Put three strips of bacon in the freezer for 15 minutes. Put the mostly frozen strips of bacon on a cutting board and cut into fine pieces over and over. As the bacon warms up and the pieces continue to get cut a paste like consistency will form. When added to the elk, it will bring additional flavor and moisture to the burgers.

The bacon paste goes into a large mixing bowl with the cheddar, chilies, and rubs. The dry rub used here was a combination of sweet and heat with nuances of ground chills and brown sugar. The sweet mesquite posse seasoning is the same one I get from Costco.

Big Green Egg 225x300

Getting the coals hot with the BBQ Dragon

Mix all the ingredients together well and then add your elk meat. I prefer to mix the elk with the other ingredients by using my hands because I feel all of the spices and flavors get distributed more evenly in the meat than any other method.

Adding the panko breadcrumbs is where you need to make a bit of a judgment call. You probably want to add at least a cup of the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture from the poblano chilies and add body to the burger, but you do not want the breadcrumbs to take center stage. Grill over raised direct heat until meat is cooked thru.

With the brightness that the poblano chilies add to the cheddar elk burgers, Jeremy recommends a Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe, New Mexico to wash it down with. I could not agree more.



Paul Sidoriak, grill masterPaul moved to Montana in 1996 with about a dozen friends from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is still reluctantly paying his student loans and has carved out a career working as a supplier representative for various food and beverage products. Paul enjoys grilling after a day on the water or an afternoon in the garden where he has been known to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers out of spite. Often cooking for extended family and friends, he takes a whimsical approach to cooking simple, seasonal dishes, while not taking it too seriously.


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