Pig on a Bun: A Spicy Roasted Pork Burger Recipe

Credit: James Ransom

If you're at the point in the summer where you're suffering from burger fatigue, it may be time to think outside of the ground beef box; time to pursue a smokier, spicier, fattier, juicier burger. Time to give Suzanne Goin's grilled pork burger a try.

Goin created the burger to serve at her restaurant Lucques, in West Hollywood. The patty is a rich, flavorful, sausage-like blend of ground pork, chorizo, bacon, and sautéed aromatic spices. Goin serves hers with a homemade aioli and romesco sauce. But as Kristen Miglore, author of Food52 Genius Recipes, says, "You could put this on a bun with Manchego and arugula and call it a day." That's how good it is.

Grilled Pork Burgers

From Food52 Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore

Makes 6 burgers

Ingredients

Aioli

  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 1⁄2 cup (120ml) grapeseed oil
  • 1⁄2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 lemon, for juicing
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Romesco 

  • 5 ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons blanched hazelnuts
  • 11⁄4 cups (300ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice country bread, about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick
  • 1⁄3 cup (80g) San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1⁄2lemon, for juicing
  • Kosher salt

Burgers 

  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1⁄2 cup (80g) diced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 chiles de arbol, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds (900g) ground pork
  • 4 ounces (115g) fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed
  • 3 ounces (85g) applewood-smoked bacon, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Olive oil
  • 6 slices Manchego cheese
  • 6 brioche buns or other good burger buns
  • 2 ounces (60g) arugula

Directions 

To make the aïoli

  1.  Place the yolk place the yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Begin whisking in the grapeseed oil, drop by drop.
  2. Once the mixture has thickened and emulsified, you can whisk in the remaining grapeseed and olive oils in a slow, steady stream. If the mixture gets too thick, add a drop or two of water.
  3. Pound the garlic with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle. Whisk the garlic paste into the aïoli. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne. Taste for balance and seasoning. If the aïoli seems thick and gloppy, thin it with a little water. In addition to thinning the aïoli, this will also make it creamier. The aïoli will keep, tightly sealed in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

To make the romesco

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Stem and seed the chiles, and then soak them in warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Strain and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they smell nutty and are golden brown.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and wait a minute. Fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and cool. Cut it into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes and set aside.
  4. Return the pan to the stove over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the chiles and sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato juices have evaporated and the tomato starts to color slightly. Turn off the heat and leave the mixture in the pan.
  5.  In a food processor, pulse together the toasted nuts, garlic, and fried bread until the bread and nuts are coarsely ground. Add the chile-tomato mixture and process for a minute more. With the machine running, slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup (240ml) olive oil and process until you have a smooth puree. Don’t worry, the romesco will “break” or separate into solids and oil; this is normal. Add the parsley and season to taste with lemon juice and more salt, if you like. The romesco will keep, tightly sealed in the refrigerator, for at least a week.

To make the burgers

  1. In a dry sauté pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat for a few minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly. Pound the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
  2. Return the pan to the stove over high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil and shallots. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for a few minutes, stirring, once or twice, until the shallots start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin, and sliced chiles. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pep­per, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots become translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, and parsley, being careful not to overmix the meat. Season with the remaining 11⁄4 teaspoons salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat into six 6-ounce (170g) patties to fit buns. Chill in the refrigerator if not using right away.
  4. Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and remove the pork burgers from the refrigerator to come to room temperature (if you made them in advance). When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the pork burgers with olive oil and grill them for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, until they’re nicely browned. Turn the burgers over, and place a piece of cheese on each one. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. (It should still be slightly pink in the center.)
  5. Slice the buns in half, brush them with olive oil, and toast them on the grill, cut side down, for a minute or so, until they’re lightly browned. Spread both sides of the buns with the aïoli. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, and dollop with a generous amount of romesco. Place some arugula leaves on top and finish with the top half of the bun. Serve immediately.