Where do I even begin? This recipe was a bit of a doozy… very labour intensive to cook in one evening but 100% worth it! I feel like I need to rate it immediately:
Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5
Lisa and I gathered at my parent’s place last week for a delicious dinner that everyone raved about, which included the Use a Spoon Chopped Salad that Lisa made and brought. (Review coming soon!)
Let’s begin with the burger patties. Allow me to quote my Dad here: “This is the best burger I’ve ever had.” Heck, yes it is. Simply delicious and quite unlike any burger you’ve ever eaten. The combo of pork, chorizo and bacon was so flavourful; even more so with thyme, parsley and shallots added to the mix. We did rebel and amend a couple of things in the recipe: fennel seeds in place of cumin seeds (because cumin smells like armpits, thank you very much), Portuguese chorizo instead of Mexican, and fresh kaiser buns instead of brioche buns. (Next time, I’ll pre-order some brioche buns in advance from La Belle Baguette or Gunn’s Bakery.) These burgers were excellent on the BBQ, but I’d see them turning out just as good cooked in the oven.
Part two: The aioli. While it tasted pretty good, we had some issues with getting the thickness up and used up a lot of muscle power whisking! We ended up using 3 egg yolks versus the 1 egg yolk that the recipe called for, as well as additional olive oil instead of grapeseed oil. Next time I make this burger, I’ll probably just make some easy Sriracha or roasted garlic mayo instead.
Last of all: The romesco. MAKE THIS. Such a unique flavour, and it pairs so well with the pork burger. Do yourself a favour though, and make this ahead of time – a night or two beforehand – and store in the fridge. Our only substitution within the recipe was cashews instead of almonds and hazelnuts (thanks for nothing, Sobey’s bulk bin!) Also, the romesco mixture was incredibly thick and the constant addition of oil was just making it thicker. We added about 1/2 cup of water to achieve a nice, spreadable consistency. (Note: Leftover romesco is excellent on avocado toast or toasted tomato sandwiches!)
So please… set aside some time this summer and make your loved ones this burger! If you plan on making everything from the burger to the aioli to the romesco in one night, just be advised that it’s about 2 hours to get food on the table. Plan and prep ahead and ready your taste buds for the best burger my dad (and you) has ever had!
Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5
Suzanne Goin’s Grilled Pork Burgers
By Genius Recipes
There are perfect burgers made of beef, salt, and pepper. This is not one of those burgers. And it takes not a little, but a lot more effort, if you commit to doing it right. But it’s worth it, because this is probably going to be the best burger you’ve ever had. We tend to think about doctoring up burgers from the outside — with thick strips of bacon, obviously, or the perfect themed toppers — but Suzanne Goin, the master of thoughtfully prepared, arrestingly flavorful food, takes perfect burger theory to another level by looking first within. She lards the burger with minced bacon and fresh Mexican chorizo and flavors it with sautéed aromatics. It turns out that in rethinking the perfect burger, it’s what’s inside that counts. Recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques (Knopf, 2005).
Makes 6 burgers For the burger: :
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 2 chiles de arbol, thinly sliced on the bias
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 1/4 pound fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed
- 3 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 6 slices Manchego cheese
- 6 brioche buns or other good burger buns
- Aioli (recipe follows)
- Romesco (recipe follows)
- 2 ounces arugula
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium sauté pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat a few minutes until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly. Pound the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
- Return the pan to the stove over high heat for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and shallots. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for a few minutes, sitrring, once or twice, until the shallots start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and sliced chile. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pepper, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots become translucent. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, and parsley, being careful not to overmix the meat. Season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat into six 6-ounce patties. Chill in the refrigerator if not using right away.
- Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and remove pork burgers from the refrigerator to come to room temperature (if you made them in advance).
- When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the pork burgers with olive oil and grill them 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, until they’re nicely browned. Turn the burgers over, and place a piece of cheese on each one. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. (It should still be slightly pink in the center.)
- Slice the buns in half, brush them with olive oil, and toast them on the grill, cut side down, for a minute or so, until they’re lightly browned.
- Spread both sides of the buns and the aioli. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, and dollop with a generous amount of romesco. Place some arugula leaves on top, and finish with the top half of the bun.
For the aioli and the romesco: :
- 1 extra-large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 lemon, for juicing
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- 5 ancho chiles
- 2 tablespoons raw almonds
- 2 tablespoons blanched hazelnuts
- 1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 slice country bread, about 1-inch thick
- 1/3 cup San Marzano canned tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 lemon, for juicing
- Kosher salt
- For the aioli: Place the yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Begin whisking in the grapeseed oil drop by drop. Once the mixture has thickened and emulsified, you can whisk in the remaining grapeseed and olive oils in a slow steady stream. If the mixture gets too thick, add a drop or two of water.
- Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle. Whisk the garlic paste into the aioli. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne. Taste for balance and seasoning. If the aioli seems thick and gloppy, thin it with a little water. In addition to thinning the aioli, this will also make it creamier.
- For romesco: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles, and then soak them in warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Strain the chiles, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they smell nutty and are golden brown.
- Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and wait a minute. Fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and cool. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chiles and sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato juices have evaporated and the tomato starts to color slightly. Turn off the heat, and leave the mixture in the pan.
- In a food processor, pulse together the toasted nuts, garlic, and fried bread until the bread and nuts are coarsely ground. Add the chile-tomato mixture and process for a minute more.
- With the machine running, slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup olive oil and process until you have a smooth purée. Don’t worry, the romesco will “break” or separate into solids and oil; this is normal. Add the parsley, and season to taste with lemon juice and more salt if you like.