Purple Basil Burgers with Plum Mustard Barbeque Sauce, Grilled Green Onions and Pickled Shallots


For the Pickled Shallots:
1/4 cup Umeboshi (pickled plum) vinegar
3 Tbsp. superfine sugar
1 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups thinly sliced fresh shallots

For the Plum Mustard Barbeque Sauce:
3/4 Asian Plum Sauce
3 Tbsp. Umeboshi (Pickled plum) vinegar
1/2 cup fresh purple basil leaves (packed into the measuring cup)
1/2 cup Grey Poupon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 cup prepared mayonnaise
80 thin fresh green onions (or scallions), cleaned and trimmed(leave whole, but cut off the roots)
avocado or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the Burgers:
4 oz. pork fat, coarsely chopped (trim fat from pork chops or ribs)
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup fresh purple basil leaves (packed into the measuring cup)
3 Tbsp. Umeboshi (pickled plum) vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 3/4 lbs. ground chuck (80% lean, 20 % fat), divided
1 cup minced grilled green onions

To Finish the Burgers:
avocado or grapeseed oil for oiling grill, burgers and English muffins
6 uncooked burgers from step #5 below
6 Jumbo English Muffins, split
Pickled shallots
Plum mustard barbeque sauce
Grilled green onions



1) Prepare your grill: FOR A GAS GRILL: If you have a grill that has more than one section, heat one section to high and one to medium. If you only have one section, heat it to medium.

2) For the Pickled Shallots: Place the Umeboshi plum vinegar, 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar and 1 tsp. fine sea salt into a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the thinly sliced shallots and toss to combine. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour (refrigerate if preparing more than 1 hour in advance of serving burgers).

3) For the Plum Barbeque Sauce: Place the 3/4 cup plum sauce, 3 Tbsp. umeboshi vinegar, 1/2 cup purple basil leaves, 1/2 cup whole grain Grey Poupon Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup prepared mayonnaise into a blender or food processor and blend or process until smooth. Scrape the Plum Barbeque Sauce into a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve burgers.

4) For the Grilled Green Onions: Lightly coat all of the green onions with the avocado of grapeseed oil and toss with the 1 tsp. fine sea salt and 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Place them onto the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning once or twice, until nicely charred and wilted (1-2 minutes per side). Remove to a clean plate and let cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, finely chop the grilled green onions. Measure out 1 cup to add to the burgers and place this into a cooler or refrigerator or freezer to cool completely. Set the rest aside until you are ready to serve the burgers.

5) For the Burgers: Place 4 oz. pork fat, 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, 1 cup purple basil, 3 Tbsp. umeboshi vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil and 1/2 pound of the ground chuck into a food processor and process until smooth (stop and scrape down the sides of the processor once or twice) and everything is evenly combined (kind of a “meat paste”). Scrape the meat paste into a wide mixing bowl. Crumble the rest of the beef and the 1 cup chopped cooled grilled green onions over the mixture in the bowl and use your hands to toss the ground chuck with the mixture- like a salad-crumbling the beef chunks as you mix. NOTE: You want to handle the meat as little as possible while still mixing it evenly and thoroughly. When mixed thoroughly, divide into 6 burgers/patties (a slightly rounded or “heaping” 3/4 cup meat mixture per burger-if you have a little meat mixture left over, make the chef a little spicy meat ball). Form each portion into a patty that is about 4 1/2″ in diameter. Place burgers onto a clean platter and cover with plastic wrap.

6) Cook the Burgers: NOTE: Have a spray bottle filled with water ready (grill-side) when you cook the burgers to put out any flare-ups (flames) that result from the melting/dripping fat from the burgers. Use the avocado or grapeseed oil to lightly oil both sides of all of the burgers and to lightly oil the grill. Grill the burgers for about 4 minutes per side (you are aiming for about 135-140 degrees internal temperature-they will stay very juicy and moist because of the pork fat and basil), turning them once. While the burgers cook, prepare the Jumbo English muffins for grilling by brushing the cut sides with a little avocado or grapeseed oil. When done, remove the burgers to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest and keep warm while you toast the English muffins. Place the English muffins, cut sides down around the edges of the grill and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until warm and lightly toasted. Remove buns from grill and place one top and bottom onto each of 6 plates.

7) Finish the Burgers: Drain the pickled shallot and blot dry with paper towels (save the liquid to store any leftover shallots). Spread about 2 Tbsp. of the Plum Mustard Barbeque Sauce onto the cut sides of each top and bottom English muffins. Cover the bottom half of each bun with about 2 Tbsp. chopped grilled green onion. Top each bottom half with a cooked, burger. Top each burger with about 1 heaping Tbsp. of the pickled shallots and then the top halves of the English muffins (NOTE: You may have extra pickled shallots, grilled green onions, and Plum Mustard Barbeque Sauce-store the shallots in their pickling liquid in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, stir and extra grilled green onions into the Barbeque Sauce and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days).

Serves 6.