Mu Shu Pork Burgers

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

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


1 1/2 pounds ground lean pork
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup loosely packed romaine lettuce tops, chopped into shreds, patted dry. Save the spines.
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and shredded with a peeler or box grater 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 raw egg, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoon Chinese brown sesame oil
1 tablespoon dried ground chili pepper flakes (double it if you like things hot)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on the grill grate
6 good quality brioche buns
2 sweet red bell peppers
6 teaspoons hoisin sauce
6 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce spines
1/3 cup scallions, chopped on a bias



PROCEDURE 1) Mix the burger ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl: Pork, minced onion, romaine tops, carrots, egg, bread crumbs, ginger, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and hot pepper. Form into four thick patties slightly concave in the center (they will puff up when cooked). Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw meat and egg mixture. 2) Prepare the grill. If you are using a gas or electric grill, turn one burner on hot, the cooking zone, and leave another off, the safe zone. If you are using a charcoal grill, use a chimney starter with 30 coals. When the coals are white all over, bank them off to one side so there are two temperature zones, hot on one side with lots of coals, the cooking zone, and warm on the other side with no coals, the safe zone. When the grates are hot, clean them thoroughly with a wire brush or pomace stone. 3) Slice the bell in half and discard the seeds and stem. Place the two halves over the hot part of the grill and close the lid. Cook until the skin blackens and blisters, about 5 minutes. Remove the pepper, put it in a bowl and cover it so the steam will loosen the skin. Peel the skin and cut it into thin strips. 4) Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over the hot part of the grill until they are lightly brown on one side. 5) Brush oil on the grates so the burgers will not stick. Place the patties on the grates. Cook the burgers directly over the hot part of the grill without the cover, for about 10 minutes or until they begin to turn dark in color. 6) Gently flip the burgers being careful not to allow them to break apart. Place 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce on the cooked side of each burger and spread it around with a spoon. Remove when internal temperature of the burger is 140F. If the coals flare up or the meat begins to char, move the burgers to the safe zone. 7) While the burgers are cooking, toast the cut side of the buns over the safe zone, watching them carefully so they do not burn. Spread the chopped Romaine spines on the bottom halves of the buns. 8) When the burgers are done, set them on the lettuce, hoisin side up, sprinkle the sesame seeds, red bell pepper strips, and scallions on them. Put the top of the bun next to the colorful burger and serve. 9) A great side dish is chilled soba noodles with cucumbers, dill, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Serve with a chilled, slightly sweet white, like a riesling, moscato, or white zinfandel.