Pepper Encrusted Wasabi Burgers with Crunchy Thai Slaw

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

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

A refreshinly crisp topping of Thai slaw adds crunch to the pepper encrusted burger, and a tangy mixture of wasabi, soy sauce and sesame oil plays a dual role as a flavor layer inside the burger and as a “paste” to help a boldly flavored pepercorn crust cling to the burgers as they cook.


For the Crunchy Thai Slaw:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 green onions, sliced on the bias 1/2″ thick
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced

For the Burgers:
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
2 teaspoons green peppercorns
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons wasabi powder
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 pounds ground chuck
2 teaspoons freshly gound black pepper
vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
6 Kaiser rolls, split


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

To make the slaw:
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, seseme oil, honey, garlic, sesame seeds, peanut butter, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green onion, and red bell pepper. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, but return to room temperature before topping burgers.

To make the burgers:
In a mortar or spice grinder, grind the peppercorns to a medium-course grind. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 2 teaspoons of the Kosher salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, wasabi powder and the sesame oil to form a thin paste. In another large bowl, combine the ground beef, 2 tablespoons of the wasabi mixture, the remaining 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt and the ground pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape the portions into patties. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the wasabi paste over one side of each patty and sprinke with the pepper mixture, gently pressing it into the meat. Turn the patties over and repeat the application of the wasabi paste and pepper mixture.

Brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once to desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the rolls around the outside of the rack, cutside down and toast about 1 minute. Remove the patties and buns to a platter.

Place 1 burger on the each of the 6 bottom bun halves, then divide the slaw mixture equally on top of the 6 burgers. Top with the remaining bun halves and serve.

Makes 6 burgers