5-Spice Burgers (with Ponzu Cucumbers, and Wasabi Avocado Aioli)

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.



2 pounds ground chuck

1/3 cup sliced green onion

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Ponzu Cucumbers

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit or lemon juice

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Wasabi Avocado Aioli

2 small Hass avocados

1/3 cup good-quality mayonnaise

1 teaspoon wasabi paste, or to taste

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack

6 sesame buns, split


Preheat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, green onion, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, 5-spice powder, and salt in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 equal patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the ponzu cucumbers, whisk together lime juice, grapefruit juice, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in large bowl. (Remove and reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture for aioli.) Whisk in both oils and cilantro. Add cucumber, and onion; toss to mix. Chill until serving.

To make the aioli, mash the reserved 1 tablespoon ponzu mixture and avocado in small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and wasabi paste until blended. Chill until serving.

Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns cut sides down on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread the aioli over the cut sides of the buns. Place a patty on each bun bottom and top with equal portion of the ponzu cucumbers (slightlly drained). Add the bun tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers