East-Meets-West Burgers with Shitake Mushrooms and Crisp Sweet Onion

Pairs well with:


Get cozy and get pouring. Our Merlot is the wine for long weekends and lengthy chats.

Here in North Central Florida we can grill all year round and often do.When cooking burgers, I sometimes combine Asian flavors with clean crisp Southern add-ons such as well-iced slices of sweet Vidalia onion. And because the flavors are definitive, I also choose iceberg lettuce instead of a softer variety like Bibb or Butter lettuce because it stands up to the flavors better and adds even more crunch. The contrast between hot and cold is wonderful; can never have too much of a good thing.


3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh garlic
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste, Frank’s Red Hot suggested
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds well marbled beef chuck (80% lean), cut into cubes
2 cups sliced shitake mushrooms, stems discarded, sliced
6 soft Kaiser rolls, split
Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s or Best Foods suggested
6 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded
6 large slices (1/4-inch thick) Vidalia or Walla sweet onion, crisped in ice water


Start the coals in the grill, and when well covered with gray ash, distribute them so that most of the heat is one half of the surface. In a bowl, cover slices of onions with ice water and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large non-reactive bowl, mix together the soy sauce, mustard, vinegar, honey, olive oil, garlic, pepper sauce, and black pepper. Add the cubed beef, cover and marinate for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the marinade, and transfer beef to a food processor. Chop using on/off pulses until beef is finely chopped. Transfer beef to a work board and divide it into 6 portions, shaping each into a 3/4-inch burger. Poke the middle of each burger to make an indent. Place on grill and brush each well with some of the reserved marinade. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, brushing with marinade several times.

At the same time, place sliced shitakes in the marinade, tossing well, than add to a medium skillet and cook on the hotter side of the grill, stirring occasionally. One minute before the burgers are ready, place the rolls on the cooler side of grill, cut sides down and toast just until heated through.

Blot onions slices with paper towels. Spread mayonnaise lightly on cut sides of rolls, add shredded lettuce to the bottom halves, an onion slice, a burger and a portion of shitake mushrooms. Add top of rolls, secure with 2 toothpicks, cut them in half and serve.