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Oilean Boy Burger

Born and raised in the small island of Guam, I have always loved firing up the grill and eating with friends and family. My family is part Irish and part Pacific Islander. We always love to cook and experiment blending flavors together. With keeping the tastebuds jumping from one cuisine to the next, I always love trying something new. When I moved to Oregon to help my family run a restaurant with a menu that blended South Pacific and Eastern European dishes, I went wild. Recently married, my wife and I have spent this summer enjoying pairing wine with wonderful grilling recipes here in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon.


Oilean Cocktail Marinade
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons whiskey (preferably Irish)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dry fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef
3/4 can of SPAM, ground (soft enough to do by hand)
Mango Melody
1 red pepper
1 mango, ripe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
1 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread, round, into 6 wedge sections, split
3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
6 slices provolone cheese
6 green leaf lettuce leaves olive oil, for brushing the grill rack


Directions Setup and prepare a charcoal or gas grill to reach medium-high heat (500 degrees F). To make the cocktail marinade, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. To make the patties, combine ground beef and ground Spam in a medium bowl. Add marinade to bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the Hawaiian Sweet Bread sections. Cover and cool to marinate until ready to grill. To make mango melody, carefully peel skin off mango to a cutting board. Cut 1/4 inch slices lengthwise down each side of the mango as close to the seed as possible. Cut each slice into thin lengthwise strips, than cut strips in half widthwise, and place in a small bowl. Brush and oil a portion of the grill grate to place red pepper. Grill until charred on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer grilled red bell pepper to the cutting board and let cool. Peel, core, seed, and thinly slice the bell pepper. Cut slices in half widthwise and mix into small bowl with mango. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mix well. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste and set melody aside. To grill patties, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. During the last few minutes of cooking, place sweet bread wedges, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. During the last minute of cooking, top each patty with a provolone cheese slice. To assemble the burgers, place enough stone ground mustard to cover the cut side of the sweet bread bottom. On each bottom, than place patty, trimmed green leaf lettuce, and spoonful of mango melody to cover the tops. Add the sweet bread tops and serve. Enjoy and do a little oilean boy dance!


Wanted to join a little of Irish and island flavor together. It is done with Spam, since it is a beloved food throughout the Pacific Islands and the US. (We actually submitted one recipe with Corned Beef Brisket. Both are equally the best.) Taking the Spam as the base for hearty seasoning, we added island sweetness and Irish spirits to provide a warm flavor for eaters who love either side. Having the patties on sweet bread was also new and provides a unique cooling introduction to the burger. Having mango and red pepper married together like a topping for an awesome philly steak, is credited to trying more oven top recipes on the grill. Always loved to play around with food and I’m glad that I can do it now without being sent to my room! Hope you enjoy.