BLUE HAWAIIAN TERIYAKI BURGERS WITH GRILLED MAUI ONIONS
I am a supporter of the locavore movement; inspiration for this burger came from shopping at the farmers’ markets when visiting our timeshare in Hawaii. There you can find fresh baked Hawaiian sweet bread, locally grown tomatoes and lettuce, and those delicious, sweet, Maui onions. Often there are stands that lure you in with the intoxicating aromas of hulihuli (BBQ) chicken, kalua pork and various teriyaki offerings on the grill. To build my better burger back on the mainland, I head to our own garden or our local farmers’ markets for fresh ingredients. I use King’s Hawaiian Sweet bread from the grocery store and further capture the flavors of the islands with a spicy teriyaki sauce. This burger, with cheeses, sweet flavors of teriyaki, bread and onions, pairs nicely with the Sutter Home Gewurztraminer.
GRILLED MAUI ONIONS:
1 large (1-pound) Maui or other sweet variety onion, peeled
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse ground, Kosher salt
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (I use Maytag)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I use Kolios)
SPICY MAYO/HONEY MUSTARD:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey mustard
1 teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
2/3 cup Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh, peeled ginger, finely minced
vegetable oil for the grill
2 pounds ground chuck (20% fat)
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly peeled ginger, finely minced
6 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Buns
6 red leaf lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry
12 thin slices tomatoes (locally grown if available)
5-6 bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes (or metal skewers may be used)
basting brush (I use a 2-inch brush)
For the grilled onions, place skewers through onion horizontally, allowing room to cut between skewers. Slices should be about 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt and rub to distribute to both sides. Then wrap in plastic wrap and set aside. They will sweat, so turn occasionally to distribute liquid.
For the cheese patties, into a small mixing bowl, add cheeses and combine with wooden spoon. Divide into six portions and press between parchment paper layers to make patties about 1/4-inch thick. Refrigerate.
For the spicy mayo/honey mustard, into a small mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, mustard and Sriracha. Mix with wooden spoon to combine. Refrigerate.
For the teriyaki sauce, into a small, grill safe sauce pan, add hoisin sauce. With wooden spoon stir in tamari, wine, rice wine vinegar, honey, Sriracha, garlic and ginger.
Now, fire up a gas grill (mine is a Vermont Castings) to “medium high” and start heating the teriyaki sauce. Stir frequently, heating thoroughly.
When the grill is heated, brush with vegetable oil. Place onions on oiled grill and brush top side with teriyaki sauce. Turn after 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of slices), brush again with teriyaki sauce and continue to cook 3-4 minutes. Turn, baste and cook as above on both sides. When done, the onions should be charred and the rings should separate easily. Slide off skewers onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap to cover and keep warm.
For the burgers, into a large mixing bowl, place chuck and “fluff” gently with a fork. Sprinkle garlic and ginger onto meat and mix in gently with a fork. Cut parchment paper into 6, 6×6-inch pieces. Divide into six portions, form loose patties, place each on a piece of parchment paper and using additional parchment paper, press to 2/3-inch patties.
Turn each patty onto clean, oiled grill heated to “medium high” and baste with generous portion of teriyaki sauce. Cook 3 1/2-minutes, then turn, baste and cook for 2 minutes. Place cheese patty on each burger and cook additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to platter, tent with foil to allow patties to rest while buns are being prepared.
For the buns, lightly toast cut sides. Distribute a generous portion of the spicy mayo/honey mustard onto both toasted sides.
To assemble the burgers, on the bottom bun, place a lettuce leaf and two tomato slices, then a cheeseburger patty and 1/6 of the onions, and then top bun. Plate and serve.