Salty, Sweet, and a Little Heat Pineapple Pork Burgers
I can remember the rare afternoons when my father, the king of resourcefulness, was entrusted to care for my brother and me. We were left to fend for ourselves in the name of food. We ate some creative sandwiches with him, like peanut butter, raisins, mayonnaise and apple. But my favorite was pineapple, mayonnaise and sharp cheddar. That concoction has paved the way for this pork burger- combining a memory with my favorite flavor profile trio: Salty and Sweet with a Little Heat.
LITTLE HEAT SPICE MIX
3 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
CREAMY CARAWAY SLAW
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
CASHEW BACON CRUMBLE
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup cashews
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons reserved spice mix
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
1 teaspoon reserved bacon fat from crumble
1 tablespoon reserved spice mix
6 cored, fresh pineapple rings
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
6 King’s Hawaiian Original Hamburger Buns
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve for the burger patties and grilled pineapple.
To make the caraway slaw, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
To make the cashew bacon crumble, place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in the oven until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 teaspoon of bacon fat for the burger patties. Toast the cashews in the oven, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Chop the bacon and cashews and combine with the parsley and salt. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
To make the patties, gently but thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Divide into 6 equal portions and shape into patties the size of the buns. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium. Remove to a large plate and cover.
To prepare the grilled pineapple, sprinkle the spice mix evenly over all 6 slices. Place on the outer edges of the grill rack and cook until grill marks form. While the pineapple is grilling, place a slice of cheddar on the cut side of the 6 bun tops and place on the outer edges of the grill rack, cheese side up, until the cheese has melted. Place the the bun bottoms, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack and cook until lightly toasted.
To assemble burgers, place a portion of slaw on each bun bottom. Top with a patty, a slice of grilled pineapple and some cashew bacon crumble. Add the cheddar bun tops and serve.