How to Make The Perfect Bourbon and Jalapeño Burger


For Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, cooking has always been a way to make friends, extend hospitality, and conjure the comforts of home while touring. A few years ago at Coachella, Taylor recalls throwing together an impromptu backstage barbecue outside of Grizzly Bear’s tour bus for some of the other bands.

“I think I made about 120 hamburgers over the course of the afternoon and evening,” he recalls, “I was lucky to cook for many hungry musicians I admire, and that was really fun for me.”


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When Taylor became friends with Ithai Schori, and the two discovered their mutual love for throwing dinner parties, they decided to write a cookbook together, Twenty Dinners. They wanted to spread the word that cooking isn’t all about following recipes to a T—it’s also about improvising and inventing and having a good time.

One of their most stress-free crowd pleasers? The burger, of course. In their words, “If you’re nervous about your burger-making skills, don’t fret: Just give people more beer.”

Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear’s favorite burger from Twenty Dinners

Makes 6 burgers

  • 2 lbs ground beef with an 80:20 fat ratio
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 tbsp bourbon
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely ground black pepper
  • Grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 6 buns
  • Tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, or pickles (Chris and Ithai also recommend horseradish mayo or caramelized onions)


  1. In a bowl, combine the beef, onion, garlic, and jalapeño with the bourbon and Worcestershire sauce. (Depending on how much spice you want, you can use more or less jalapeño. Also, leaving in the seeds will add even more heat. You can always add more later when you adjust the seasoning.) Let this mixture marinate while you prep other items for your meal—it only gets better as it sits. So this is a great time to get your grill nice and smoking hot and clean.
  2. Add the parsley and pepper to the meat mix­ture and combine well. Try a pinch of the meat and adjust the seasoning to taste. (If you’re nervous about tasting the meat raw, grill a small bite of it and taste that.) When you’re happy, divide the meat into 6 balls, and

Recipe reprinted from Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor. Copyright © 2015. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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