November December 2013
From Geoff Last
When using high-quality beef I tend to subscribe to the au naturel camp, but pork is a different beast. It lends itself to a wide variety of spices and seasonings, and the beauty of this recipe is you can play around with it to suit your tastes. I like to cook these to medium-rare, leaving them a little pink in the middle to make sure they don’t dry out.
2 lbs. ground pork, preferably local, free-range
1 t. ground cumin
1 T. smoked paprika
4 oz. pancetta, diced fine
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s (use Sriracha if you want more kick)
1/4 c. diced shallots
dash of salt and pepper, to taste
slices of a melting cheese, such as cheddar or gruyère
Mix all of the ingredients, other than the cheese, together in a large bowl until just combined. Use a light touch; you don’t want to knead the mixture. This mixture is best done the night before or in the morning to allow the flavours to meld; refrigerate until ready make the patties. Preheat the grill (they can also be cooked in a cast-iron skillet). Form patties roughly the same size as your buns, about 1-inch thick, and allow them to rest at room temperature, about a half hour before cooking. Grill until done, about 4 minutes per side, adding cheese slices during the last minute of cooking. Serve on toasted buns smeared with burger/sandwich spread (recipe follows) and add desired garnishes. Makes 6 large burgers.
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. prepared horseradish
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. ketchup
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for several weeks.