Archive for August 18th, 2011

Szechwan peppercorns are rust colored with rough skin that splits open to reveal a brittle black seed. The spice mainly consists of the empty husks, which give it a rosy hue when ground. Szechwan pepper has a floral fragrance, and even though the food of the Szechwan province can be fiery, the peppercorn itself is not very hot. This burger is half pork, which gives it a smooth texture and a pleasant sweetness.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes
(plus 5 minutes for Szechwan salt)
Grill: 7 minutes

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula

GETTING CREATIVE
– Because these burgers have a distinctive Asian flavor profile, it is best to choose garnishes that are complementary, such as a slice of pineapple, a mound of pickled ginger, a leaf of bok choy, a little teriyaki, or a dollop of chutney.
– Substitute a flatbread, like ciabatta, for the hamburger buns.
– Substitute any seasoning salt for the Sesame Szechwan Salt.

TIPS
– The easiest way to peel gingerroot is to scrape the skin with the edge of a spoon turned upside down.
– Don’t worry about the doneness of the pork in this burger; pork is fully cooked at 150°F.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
1 pound ground beef chuck, 85% lean
1 pound ground pork
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled gingerroot
1 teaspoon Sesame Szechwan Salt
1 tablespoon sriracha hot pepper sauce
4 scallions, roots trimmed, cut into thin slices
Oil for coating grill grate
6 hamburger buns, split

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Using your hands, mix the beef, pork, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Szechwan salt, hot pepper sauce, and scallions in a bowl until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 6 patties no more than 1 inch thick. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, flipping after about 4 minutes, for medium-done (150°F, slightly pink). Add a minute per side for well-done (160°F).
4. To toast the buns, put them cut sides down directly over the fire for the last minute of cooking.
5. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve on the buns. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating.

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