Korean-Hawaiian Taco Truck Burgers

Accolades 2012 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.

In Seattle, there is an amazingly delicious and wildly popular Korean-Hawaiian taco truck called Marination. … This burger is inspired by my favorite things on their menu.


2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced jalapeño chile
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce

2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
6 ounces 25% Less Sodium SPAM® (1/2 of a standard tin), diced pea-size
1 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup Korean barbecue sauce for kalbi

1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chile sauce or paste)
2 tablespoons Korean barbecue sauce for kalbi

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 onion brioche rolls, split
10 tablespoons mayonnaise
24 sheets sesame-flavored Korean roasted seaweed snacks, such as Annie
Chun’s brand

NOTE: Korean products can be found in the international aisle of a well-stocked grocery store or at an Asian market.


To make the slaw, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger, sugar, and soy sauce in the bottom of a bowl large enough to toss the slaw in. Whisk until combined and smooth. Add the cabbage, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Toss to combine. Top with the lettuce, but don’t mix in. Cover and keep cool until ready to assemble the burgers.

To make the patties, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until evenly distributed, but do not overwork. Divide into 6 equal portions and form thick patties about the size of your hand. When forming the patties, make the middles a little thinner than the outside and the edges smooth.

To make the basting sauce, combine the two ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the patties and spread half of the basting sauce on the tops. Cover and cook for 4 minutes longer. Turn the patties again and spread with the remaining sauce. With the lid open, cook the patties for about 1 minute longer, turning and rearranging so they all get a nice caramelization of the basting sauce and a few grill marks. During the last minute of cooking, place the rolls on the grill rack and toast on both sides until lightly browned and warm, about 30 seconds.

Remove the slaw from the refrigerator and toss to combine the lettuce with the cabbage mixture.

To assemble the burgers, spread 1/6 of the mayonnaise on the cut sides of each roll. Top the bottom half of each roll with 4 sheets of seaweed snacks, followed by a burger patty, 1/6 of the slaw, and the roll top.