Friday, June 15, 2012

Hoisin Burgers with Wasabi Slaw

Tired of making the same burgers time after time?  This burger features hoisin sauce mixed in with the meat as well as in a glaze.  If you're not familiar with hoisin sauce, it's basically an Asian barbecue sauce that you can find in the Asian aisle of your grocery store.  The glaze also has soy sauce and vinegar for extra tang.  The burgers are grilled with swiss cheese and served with fresh cucumbers as a topping. 

To complement the burgers I found a recipe for wasabi coleslaw that I thought would be great.  Wasabi is the Japanese equivalent of a hot mustard or horseradish.  The coleslaw does go very well with the burgers, but then I had the inspiration to put the coleslaw on the burger and that made it perfect.

Where I grew up we definitely did not put coleslaw on sandwiches of any type whatsoever.  But one time I was riding from an airport to a sales meeting with two business associates - Steve (from Virginia) and Dave (from Texas).  They're both big barbecue fans and spent the entire one hour trip in serious discussions regarding pork versus beef, pulled versus chopped, and sauces - tomato, vinegar, or mustard-based.  The one thing both of them agreed on was that the coleslaw goes on the barbecue sandwich, not on the side.  I thought that was odd, not having grown up in a state where barbecue is close to a religion.  When we stopped for lunch they convinced me to try a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on top, and I was hooked.  The creamy, crunchy coleslaw contrasted perfectly with the rich meat and smoky sauce to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

So, that's my inspiration for putting the wasabi slaw on the hoisin burger.  The punch of the wasabi along with the creamy, crunchy slaw is a great offset to the rich meat and smoky-sweet hoisin.  Try it yourself and see - this is definitely not your same old burger!

A note on the meat - you can  make these either with ground beef or ground turkey (or even chicken).  I like to make burgers that are about a quarter pound or slightly larger but you can make yours any size you want, just adjust the other ingredients accordingly if you use more meat.

* * click here for a printable recipe * *

Hoisin Burgers with Wasabi Slaw
Serves 3-4 depending on burger size

For the burgers:
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
5 T hoisin sauce, divided
4 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
1T soy sauce
1T rice wine vinegar
4 slices swiss cheese
12 slices of cucumber
Wasabi mayonnaise (see below)
4 sesame hamburger buns

For the wasabi slaw:
1 T wasabi powder
2 T water
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups coleslaw mix
Salt and pepper

To make the burgers:
Mix 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and the green onions into the ground beef or turkey. Season with salt and pepper and form into 3-4 patties, depending on the size you like. In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of hoisin with the soy sauce and vinegar.

Prepare a grill for medium direct heat.

Grill the burgers approximately 3-4 minutes per side, brushing liberally with the glaze on both sides. Top with swiss cheese slices and let melt, then remove from the grill.

Serve on sesame buns and top with three cucumber slices each. Finish each sandwich with a little wasabi mayonnaise or the wasabi coleslaw and the top of the bun.

To make wasabi slaw:
In a small bowl, mix together wasabi powder and water to form a paste. Add mayonnaise, ginger and garlic and stir until well combined.

Place coleslaw mix in a medium bowl and add enough wasabi mayonnaise to lightly coat. Toss well, season with salt and pepper, then serve on the side or on top of the hoisin burgers.

Note: extra wasabi mayonnaise can be used on the burger buns if desired.

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