Hawaiian Spammy Burger
This is one of those dishes where ingredient planning is paramount. I will relate to you soon the huge mistake I made regarding the construction this burger. The taste of it was amazing, albeit it a little saltier than I'd wanted it to be, but overall, the flavors of a Hawaiian Lunch Plate are captured in this burger. I hope you will try it, make it your own, and enjoy it as much as I did. Just do it better than me!
Here's my wave of ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef and 1 pound ground pork
1 can of SPAM, chopped into small cubes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger, separated (I freeze my fresh ginger, which allows it to last about forever)
2 + 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, and separated
2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce, separated into thirds
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce (store bought is just fine, but you could always make your own!)
1 eight ounce can chunk pineapple
8 small slabs of pork belly
King Hawaiian Burger Buns
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cheese of your choice (I would use a smoked cheddar, gouda or mozzarella)
Garlic Sriracha Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon Sriracha
Greens of one scallion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
*Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl, mix thoroughly, and place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to marry. If you make this a day ahead of time, the flavors will be bolder and better!
In a cast iron skillet, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (evoo) over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the slabs of pork belly. Allow the slabs to crisp, above four minutes per side. Add a drizzle of Teriyaki sauce just before you turn the slabs. Add another drizzle of Teriyaki sauce when the other side begins to crisp up. When fully glazed and crisped, remove the slabs onto a plate lined with paper towels and set aside, covered to keep them warm.
Now, add another drizzle of evoo, this time, about two tablespoons around the cast iron skillet. Add the red onions, ginger and garlic when the oil ripples and saute', about five minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Move the veggies off to the sides of the skillet, and add the chopped SPAM. Add a drizzle of Teriyaki sauce and one tablespoon of the Hoisin Sauce to the saute'. Allow the SPAM to crisp up and incorporate the veggies into the mix. Remove the SPAM mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
Now, this is where I made my huge mistake. A friend and I made these burgers a couple of summers ago, and I'd forgotten about using two pounds of meat for these burgers, this time.When the SPAM mixture cools, blend it, along with the one drained can of chunk pineapple and the other tablespoon of Hoisin sauce, in a food processor or blender, and add it to a large bowl with the two pounds of meat. *My problem was that I had only one pound of meat, so my ratio of soft SPAM and veggies to ground beef was far too off, so my mixture was loose and gloppy. Yes, I said "gloppy". I had the bright idea to add two eggs, which helped to geld the mixture together a little bit after I'd formed them in to burgers. It was not enough, however, to stop it from being a loose mess . My solution? Pour all of the wonderfully smelling meat and veggie "gloppy mess" into my cast iron skillet and bake it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. After 35 minutes, I'd topped the giant burger with mozzarella cheese (I'd wished I'd had smoked cheese, cheddar or mozzarella, or gouda) which also helped to keep it together. The baking idea did the trick. Thank goodness! I have said all along that my humble blog is a learning blog, and I sure did learn!
In a perfect world, however, you would have about eight burgers, dented in the middle, to allow a flat surface, as it will plump while cooking, which you could grill or fry, and top with the cheese of your choice. I, personally, and I do not know why, because I love pineapple, do not like a round of grilled pineapple atop my burger. Don't hate, as I still used pineapple in my meat mixture! I loved the tangy, sweet taste it brought to the meat mixture. You would add the spicy aioli to your Hawaiian burger buns, add the greens of your choice (I used baby arugula), add the glazed pork belly atop your burger, and "Aloha"! Enjoy a majorly flavorful meaty burger dripping with Hawaiian goodness.
Aloha and Mahalo!