Hawaii Da Kine Burgers with Sweet-Chili Glaze, Ginger-Goat Cheese Spread, and Hot Watercress Salad

Accolades 2008 Winning Recipes
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

This burger is as local as it gets, both in taste and ingredients.

Ginger-Goat Cheese Spread

  • 4 ounces Surfing Goat Dairy Rolling Green goat cheese (made with fresh garlic chives) or other garlic-flavored mild goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger


  • 3 ounces spicy Hawaiian Portuguese sausage or other Portuguese sausage, such as linguica
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/3 cup minced ripe papaya
  • 1/3 cup minced Maui or other sweet onion
  • 5 teaspoons McCormick’s Gourmet Collection Asian-style Spiced Sea Salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Sweet-Chili Glaze

  • 2/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Japanese shoyu (soy sauce), preferably Yamasa brand

Hot Watercress Salad

  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or peanut oil
  • 2 small ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer variety
  • 1/2 ripe papaya, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups chopped watercress
  • 2 small Maui or other sweet onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese shoyu (soy sauce), preferably Yamasa brand
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
  • 6 high-quality seeded hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, split

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the spread, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, and ginger in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.

To make the patties, place the sausage in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add the chuck, papaya, onion, and spiced salt. Combine well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form into 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the glaze, combine the sweet chili sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make the salad, pour the oil into a fire-proof skillet and heat on the grill until it reaches its smoking point. While the oil is heating, halve the avocado slices and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss gently. Layer the papaya, watercress, onions, garlic, and pepper flakes over the avocado and carefully drizzle the hot oil over the top. Add the soy sauce and toss to combine.

Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side, basting often with the glaze until the desired doneness is reached. 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 goat cheese spread over the cut sides of the bun tops. Place a patty on each bun bottom and top with equal portions of the salad. Add the bun tops and devour.

Hawaii’s Surfing Goat Dairy has won 16 national awards, and their cheese can be found in Hawaii and California or purchased online. Due to papaya’s tenderizing enzyme, do not make the patties more than 2 hours before grilling. Some sweet onions can still have a pungent bite. To remove the “bite,” soak the onion slices in iced water for 15 to 20 minutes; drain on paper towels. The quality of the buns or rolls is more important than the type. They should be fresh and moist but not airy or delicate; they need to be substantial enough to hold the patties without falling apart.