RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Bacon Banbanji Burgers

Ingredients 

Patty seasonings:
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (I prefer Sushi Chef brand)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, including juices
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon pure sesame oil
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Cucumber-Wakame Salad:
1 cup very thinly sliced cucumber, peeled if waxed (about 1/2 medium-sized)
1/3 cup re-hydrated wakame seaweed (I prefer Welpac Fueru Wakame Dried Seaweed)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced nappa cabbage
1/4 cup sliced green onion
2 teaspoons toasted black sesame seeds
1/4 cup natural rice vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil

Bacon Sauce:
1/2 cup quality ketchup (I prefer Heinz brand)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I prefer Lea & Perrins brand)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

Shiitake Sauce:
3 tablespoons red miso
3 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
1 pound ground sirloin, 90/10
1/2 cup sliced fresh green onions
12 strips applewood-smoked pepper bacon
3 tablespoons vegetable oil + oil for oiling grill rack
1/2 pound sliced shiitake mushroom caps (no stems)
6 sesame-seeded Kaiser rolls, split (the rolls should have a slightly chewy crust and a tender interior)

Instructions 

• Prepare a medium indirect heat fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium.
• To make the patty seasonings, in a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, mirin, ginger, Sriracha, sesame oil, pepper and salt, cover and refrigerate.
• To make the salad, in a medium bowl, mix together cucumber, seaweed, cabbage, green onion and sesame seeds, cover and refrigerate. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and oil, cover and refrigerate.
• To make the bacon sauce, in a small bowl, mix together ketchup, Worcestershire and sesame oil; set aside.
• To make the shiitake sauce, in a small bowl, mix together miso, mirin and sesame oil; set aside.
• To make the patties, spread the chuck and sirloin out in a large shallow pan. Distribute the chilled patty seasoning mixture and green onions over meat. Using a fork, evenly mix seasoning mixture and green onions into meat. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
• To prepare bacon, lay bacon strips on a sheet pan lined with foil and place pan on grill rack. Internal grill temperature should be 375ºF. Close cover and cook bacon for 18 to 22 minutes, draining as necessary. Evenly spread slices with half of the bacon sauce and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Dab or "mop" bacon with remaining sauce, close cover and cook for 8 to 12 minutes longer or until bacon is crisp and the sauce is firm and caramelized. Cut slices in half crosswise, tent with foil and keep warm.
• Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
• To prepare the shiitakes, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium skillet on the grill rack. Add the shiitakes and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in the reserved shiitake sauce, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
• Toss salad vegetables with reserved dressing and set aside.
• To grill the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked to preference, 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, add 4 bacon slice halves to each burger and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
•To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom, place an equal portion of mushrooms, followed by a bacon-topped patty and an equal portion of salad. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

Banbanji is a Japanese salad traditionally made with chilled chicken and cucumber. Sometimes it’s served with a spicy sesame sauce. My recipe was inspired by ingredients in banbanji and in other Japanese dishes and sauces – a spicy ketchup and worcestershire sauce (a variation of tonkatsu sauce) "lacquers" smoky, peppered bacon and a sweet miso sauce (also known as dengaku) glazes earthy sautéed shiitake mushrooms.

While it looks like there’s a lot going on – there is! But not in a complicated way. Preparing the patty seasonings, salad ingredients, salad dressing and the sauces comes together quickly and produces layers of fabulous flavors. In addition to being incredibly juicy and packed full of deliciousness, these burgers are fun to say. Go ahead – say it . . . Banbanji!!

Note: There are several types of dried wakame seaweed, including the very small dried pieces like I use in this recipe. The small pieces re-hydrate in cold water and expand quickly, in about 6 to 8 minutes, and are then ready to use in the cucumber-wakame salad. If unavailable, re-hydrate whole wakame leaves, remove and discard the stem and chop leaves into small pieces. If applewood-smoked pepper bacon is unavailable, sprinkle applewood-smoked bacon strips evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper.