RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Hot in the City Burger

Hailing from Texas, I grew up getting familiar with spices. From local chili cook offs to double-dares in the back yard garden involving the tips of peppers, I was pretty sure I knew “hot.” But, many years and a move to New York City later, that notion was challenged. For any culinary explorer, Chinatown, in the heart of downtown NYC, is a goldmine. There you can see and taste many treasures that normally you would have to travel overseas for. One restaurant to the next, I experienced levels of hotness with flavors unprecedented. From curries to condiments, these eastern spices were exciting, and for me... a whole new revelation of “hot.” This burger represents many of the new flavors and spices I have found in my explorations and hopefully incorporates them into a recipe that can be shared and experienced by many.


2 lbs ground chuck or sirloin beef
2 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoon fish sauce*
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon galangal (Thai ginger), grated
2 tablespoon jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped fine
1 medium sized shallot, chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup white cabbage, shredded
1 cup iceberg, shredded
1 cup carrot, grated
2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoon mint, julienne
1 tablespoon peanuts, crushed
1 teaspoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon. Sriracha sauce*
1 tablespoon Thai basil, julienne
6 brioche burger buns, sliced (can use potato bread buns as substitute)
Vegetable Oil for brushing grill rack


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To prepare the patties: Combine the beef, olive oil, fish sauce, garlic, galangal, jalapeño, cilantro, shallot, cumin, salt and pepper into a medium sized mixing bowl, gently working the ingredients together. Divide and mold into 6 burger patties. Cover with plastic and place aside while preparing other ingredients.

To make the Vietnamese slaw: Use a medium sized mixing bowl and toss the red cabbage, white cabbage, iceberg and carrots with the fish sauce, mint, peanuts and olive oil till well mixed. Loosely cover and set aside.

For the rooster mayo: Using a small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce until it is a consistent pinkish-red, then add the Thai basil and gently stir. Loosely cover and set aside.

Return to grill to and brush the rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and grill, turning once, letting the burgers cook on each side about 5 to 7 minutes for medium. When the patties are done, remove them from the grill and stack them to keep the heat.

During the final minutes of grilling, place the brioche buns sliced-side down on the outer edge of the grill to lightly toast. Remove the bottoms when toasted, and turn the tops over to grill the crusts lightly. Grill marks can be a nice presentation, so try any variation.

To assemble the burgers: Lightly brush the Sriracha mayo on both the top and bottom bun with a thin layer. Place the burger on the lower half and then top with about half a cup of the Vietnamese slaw. Place the top brioche bun over the slaw and serve.


* Fish sauce, galangal, and Sriracha (a sun-ripened chili garlic sauce) can be found in local Asian markets or well-stocked supermarkets. Use the Vietnamese variety of fish sauce, nuoc mam or nuoc cham.