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Tres Cerdos Burgers with Baby Swiss and Spicy Cran-Tan Mustard

Some people have a soundtrack to their lives. I have a menu.

This burger, my homage to the classic Cuban sandwich, is nothing more than a tasty way for me to remember the times I spent growing up in Florida.

To make the patties, I combined three different types of pork, and added spices that complement the smokiness/saltiness of the meat. The Baby swiss lends a mild, nutty flavor, and the spicy mustard is tempered with a little sweet (brown sugar), a little tang (cranberries), and a little bit of the Sunshine State (tangerine juice and zest). It's a simple burger that packs a lot of flavor.


1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
2 Tablespoons tangerine juice
2 teaspoons tangerine zest
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1+1/2 lbs. boneless pork loin, coarsely chopped
1/4 lb. boneless smoked ham, coarsely chopped
1/4 lb. pancetta, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
6 slices baby Swiss cheese
6 soft Kaiser rolls, split


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

To make the Spicy Cran-Tan Mustard: Combine the cranberries, mustard, tangerine juice, tangerine zest, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the patties: Place coarsely chopped pork loin, smoked ham, and pancetta into a large food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground and meats are blended. Place ground meat mixture into a large bowl. Combine with onion, garlic, salt, cinnamon, cumin, and black pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the Spicy Cran-Tan Mustard onto the cut sides of each roll top. Place a cheese-topped patty on each roll bottom. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers


In spanish, "Tres Cerdos" means "three pigs." One taste of this yummy pork burger, and you'll know what the Big Bad Wolf had in mind all along!