Japanese Seven Spice Pork Burger w/Smoky Daikon Slaw & Ginger Avocado Mayo

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.

Since one of my sons moved to live in Japan, I have become very intrigued by Japanese flavors.I put my own distinctive twist on a lot of traditional Japanese ingredients, such as the Japanese Seven Spice mixture and daikon radish, in order to make a great, unique burger.


Ginger Avocado Mayo:
3/4 cup lightly mashed ripe Haas avocado
3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie brand, available at Asian markets)
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Smoky Daikon Slaw:
8 slices bacon
1/2 cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie brand, available at Asian markets)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 cups julienned daikon radish
3/4 cup julienned carrot
1/2 cup julienned English cucumber

2 pounds ground pork
1/3 cup grated onion
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Japanese Seven Spice AKA Shichimi Togarashi
(can substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes + 3/4 teaspoon sesame seeds)

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality hamburger buns, split


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

To make Ginger Avocado Mayo, combine avocado, mayo, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl; mix until well combined.

To make Smoky Daikon Slaw, heat a large fireproof skillet over medium-high heat on grill. Add bacon and cook about 5 minutes (in batches, if necessary), turning occasionally; cook until crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon into small pieces. Add mushrooms to remaining rendered fat in skillet, cooking for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. In a medium mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil; mix well. Add daikon, carrots, cucumber, crumbled bacon, and mushrooms; toss to coat.

To make the patties, in a large mixing bowl, combine pork, onion, panko, garlic, tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and Japanese Seven Spice. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Ginger Avocado Mayo on the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty and a generous amount of Smoky Daikon Slaw. Add bun tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.