Wherever we went in the States, burgers were always a sure-fire hit. Every town or city seemed to have numerous impressive burger joints filled with hungry diners of every demographic, from grandparents to hipsters.
This particular burger recipe was standout for us. We ate something similar in an Aspen skier’s diner, nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Serves: 6, Cooking Method: Grilling
3 banana shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp groundnut oil, plus extra for frying and brushing
2 tbsp Creole seasoning
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
1kg minced pork shoulder
3 rashers good streaky bacon, finely chopped
small handful fresh thyme leaves
small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp chilli powder
For the Burger Trimmings:
6 good brioche or burger buns, halved
6 tbsp Bacon Jam
6 tbsp Chilli Jam
6 slices halloumi (about 250g packet)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Little Gem lettuce or fresh rocket
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Gently fry the shallots and garlic in the oil for 5–7 minutes over medium heat, until softened. Turn the heat to low and stir through the Creole seasoning, cumin and coriander for 1–2 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, using wet hands, combine the minced pork, bacon, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, chilli powder, and the cooled shallot mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and add a small piece of burger mix. Fry over medium heat for a few minutes, until cooked, then taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Form the meat mixture into six even-sized patties and press your thumb into the middle of each one to create a dimple. Place the patties on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour for the flavours to mature.
Set your grill up for direct heat but leave a ‘cool zone’ i.e. an area without coals. Toast the cut sides of the rolls so they are golden, around 15 seconds. Spread a tablespoon of bacon jam on one half, and a tablespoon of chilli jam on the other, and top with a handful of rocket or chopped lettuce.
Season both sides of the patties and cook for 3–5 minutes on the grates over the direct heat, then flip. Make sure you get a good Mailliard reaction (chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives a beautiful, chargrilled colour and flavour) before turning. They will take around 8–10 minutes to cook, but use your instant-read thermometer to ensure the middles reach 74°C/165°F.
As you flip your burgers, start grilling the halloumi. Brush each slice with a little oil and sprinkle on the smoked paprika. Grill for 1–2 minutes, until they have a golden, slightly charred texture. Rest the cooked burgers on the indirect side of your grill for about 5 minutes. Place each patty on top of the rocket, followed by grilled halloumi.
As this is such a tasty treat, we’d recommend rustling it up for pretty much anyone you’re feeling some love for. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day to show some appreciation and nothing says ‘I love you’ like a juicy pork patty combined with delicious charred halloumi! Wash down with your favourite cider for a perfect pairing (we heartily recommend Hallet’s Real Cider!) and enjoy…