Hawaii Da Kine Burgers

Pairs well with:


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

“Da kine” is a key phrase in Hawaiian Pidgin, the language of the “locals.” It can mean almost anything but commonly refers to something good or genuine, or as in this case, “the best”. This burger is as local as it gets, both in taste and ingredients. The patties are tender and juicy thanks to fresh papaya and sweet onion, and are spiced with Hawaiian Portuguese Sausage, which is so popular in Hawaii that it is on every breakfast menu (including McDonald’s). The accompanying salad employs heating oil to its smoking point, a local cooking method, resulting in a dynamite burger accompaniment. To complete the Hawaiian flavoring, I added a sweet glaze (Hawaiians love sweet and savory) and was inspired by our award-winning goat dairy to create a mouth-watering ginger-infused cheese spread. Ho, dat’s da kine!


Ginger Goat-Cheese Spread

  • 4 ounces garlic chive or garlic-flavored goat cheese, preferably Surfing Goat Dairy’s Rolling Green
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger


  • 3 ounces spicy Hawaiian Portuguese sausage (can substitute Portuguese sausage or linguica)
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/3 cup minced ripe papaya
  • 1/3 cup minced Maui onion or other sweet onion
  • 5 teaspoons Asian style spiced sea salt

Sweet Chili Glaze

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

Hot Watercress Salad

  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nut oil (can substitute peanut oil)
  • 2 small Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer
  • 1/2 ripe papaya, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups chopped watercress
  • 2 small Maui onions or other sweet onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), preferably Yamasa


  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
  • 6 hamburger buns with seeds or sandwich rolls, split


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or prepare a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. To make the spread, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, and ginger in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
  3. 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 sea salt. Combine well, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form into 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  4. To make the glaze, combine the sweet chili sauce and shoyu in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. 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 avocado and carefully drizzle the hot oil over the top. Add the shoyu and toss to combine.
  6. 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.
  7. To assemble the burgers, spread the goat cheese mixture 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.