The Ultimate Umami Pork Burger

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

I wanted to create a burger that features Umami: the recently discovered fifth taste.Umami, also known as savoriness, is what makes food taste… complete. In this burger, I have put multiple ingredients that are very high in Umami in order to maximize the Umami quotient in this burger. In the sauce, there are Umami-rich ingredients such as anchovies, oyster sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and soy sauce. When it comes to cheese, both Emmenthaler cheese and Cabrales blue cheese are known for their high levels of Umami. Mushrooms are a major carrier of Umami. And, cured meats contain lots of lots of Umami, particularly prosciutto. Put them all together, and you get will get one delicious burger!!


Super Savory Sauce:

1/3 cup prepared chili sauce (e.g., Heinz)

2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce

1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 anchovies (packed in olive oil), chopped

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 large clove garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Cabrales & Prosciutto Mushrooms:

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped

3 cups sliced oyster mushrooms

1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth

1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel wine

1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup crumbled Cabrales blue cheese (or other blue cheese)


2 1/4 pounds ground pork

1/3 cup finely minced shallot

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 ounces Emmenthaler cheese, shredded

6 good-quality potato hamburger buns

6 leaves butter lettuce


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

To make Super Savory Sauce, in the bowl of a food processor combine chili sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, shallot, garlic, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise; puree.

To make Cabrales & Prosciutto Mushrooms, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and prosciutto. Cook for 3-4 minute, stirring occasionally. Transfer prosciutto to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mushrooms. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beef broth, wine, and thyme. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; stir in Cabrales blue cheese and prosciutto.

To make the patties, in a large mixing bowl, combine pork, shallot, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the burgers with equal amounts of cheese and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Super Savory Sauce on the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a leaf of lettuce, a cheese-topped patty, and a generous amount of Cabrales & Prosciutto Mushrooms. Add bun tops and serve.

Makes 6 servings