Cubana Fusion Burgers with Fried Dill Pickles, Caramelized Ham, Gruyere & Tangy Garlic-Lime Aioli

Pairs well with:

Pinot Grigio

You won’t need a bouquet of flowers when you share our Pinot Grigio. This crisp wine with floral aromas is a wonderful way to make an entrance.

My love of spicy food and a Cubana sandwich, inspired me to come up with a much more flavor packed recipe. Being half Korean and half Swedish, I always end up fusing different flavors and textures together.My Cubana Fusion Burger is a perfect example of that.


Tangy Garlic/Lime Aioli ingredients:
1¼ cup- good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons – dry mustard
2 cloves- garlic- finely minced
1/3 teaspoon – cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons – lime zest/ finely grated (approximately 1 lime)
1 tablespoon- fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon – sugar
½ teaspoon – Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon – black pepper

Burger ingredients:
8 ounces- Linguica sausage (fully cooked Portuguese sausage)
3 cloves- garlic
½ cup- sweet yellow onion, rough chopped
1 tablespoon – Cumin
2 tablespoons – light brown sugar/lightly packed
2 teaspoons – Kosher salt
1 teaspoon – Black pepper
2 teaspoons – Chili powder
1 tablespoon – Smoked sweet paprika
1¾ pounds- ground beef chuck 80/20

Fried dill pickle ingredients:
12 – pre-sliced, garlic-dill pickles, that are sliced lengthwise/drain & discard the juice.
¾ cup- all purpose flour
1 teaspoon – Kosher salt
½ teaspoon – black pepper
1- large egg, lightly whisked with ¼ cup water
1½ cups- Panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)
1¼ cups – Canola oil

Finishing ingredients:
¾ pound- deli style, Black Forest ham, 1/16″-1/8″ thin slices, cut slices in half
¾ pound- Gruyere cheese/ grated
2 tablespoons- vegetable oil for the grill rack
6- Good quality, Potato Hamburger Buns/split


To make the aioli: Whisk together the mayo, dry mustard, minced garlic, cayenne, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper, in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap & chill till assembly time

To make the patties: Pulse the Linguica, garlic, onion, cumin, brown sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika in a food processor, till mixture is finely ground. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage mixture, ground beef. Make 6 equal size patties, to fit the size of the buns. Don’t overwork the meat. Place them on a plastic wrap lined, small baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and chill till needed.

Pre-heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

To make the fried pickles: Using 3 small, shallow bowls, place the flour, salt & pepper in one, the egg & water mixture in one, and the Panko in the 3rd. bowl. Dip each pickle, coating both sides, into the flour mixture, then into egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. Place them onto a small metal baking sheet. Place a medium sized, non-stick, fireproof skillet on the grill rack then add 1¼ cup canola oil. When oil is hot, fry the coated pickles, in a single layer, 1½ minutes on each side or till light golden brown. When done, place them on a platter, cover with foil to keep hot. Poke a tiny hole in the foil to vent steam. Set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons oil from the skillet & remove any crumbs from the skillet.

To cook the ham: Return the skillet to the grill, on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the sliced ham to the skillet, separating the slices, while cooking for 4-5 minutes and the edges of the ham slices get slightly caramelized. Remove skillet from the flame, cover the ham with foil to keep warm. Set aside.

To cook the burgers: Brush the grill surface with vegetable oil. On medium-high heat, cook the burgers 6-7 minutes per side, for medium doneness. Place equal amounts of cheese on the patties during the last minute of cooking. Close grill cover, for 30 seconds, to melt the cheese faster. Remove the burgers to platter, then drape the burgers with aluminum foil. Place buns, cut side down, around the outer edge of the grill to toast lightly. Assemble the burgers when buns are toasted.

Burger assembly: Spread the aioli on the toasted side of the buns, then on each of the bottom halves, place a cheese topped patty, then an equal pile of ham, followed with 2 fried pickles, followed with the top half of the bun, aioli side down. Serve immediately.