I love pulled pork and had my doubts about a burger recipe with claims to compare. I was pleasantly surprised that this burger definitely does resemble the taste of our southern pulled pork and is actually a quite delicious & quick way to serve ground pork. I was impressed with the inventiveness of this recipe and how the bland taste of the ground pork was elevated by simply adding bits of smoky bacon and smearing with a rub. Obviously this will never be a substitute for real pulled pork, but in a pinch, when the mood strikes but lack of time persists, this succulent burger will certainly fit the bill! I have made these twice now, once using my George Forman Grill with excellent results. Steven Raichlen has done it again with this recipe! Other then a few personal changes, this is his recipe from Burgers. Although Pale Ales are the usual choice for BBQ dishes, I tend to lean more towards the Brown Ales with pulled pork (or versions of it); try it with an Abita Turbo Dog or Sam Smith’s Nut Brown. Make Ahead: The honey-mustard sauce can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated, just reheat on low before serving.
- 5 slices smoky bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1⁄3 cup honey
- 1⁄3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground lean pork, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- vegetable oil, for brushing
- 8 slices thick-cut sandwich bread (like Texas Toast) or 4 hamburger buns
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- In a small sauce pan, fry half of the bacon pieces and the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter until the onions are golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add honey, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce and Worcestershire and simmer until the sauce thickens and slightly reduces, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- While the sauce is cooking, fry the remaining bacon pieces until crisp then drain on paper towels. In a small mixing bowl, combine both paprikas, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seeds with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Lightly knead the ground pork with the bacon and liquid smoke (if you are using/ I didn't use) in a bowl. Loosely make 4 patties about 3/4" thick and place on a plate covered with saran wrap. Sprinkle the spice mixture on the top, bottom and sides of burger, patting it into the meat till it sticks. Brush the spice covered burgers and both sides of the bread with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.
- Light your grill and brush the grate with oil once it is heated. Grill the burgers for 12 minutes, turning once, until just cooked through. Remove the burgers from direct heat and grill the bread on both sides until toasted and the grill marks appear.
- Set each burger on a toast slice and top with the shredded cabbage and a generous helping of the honey-mustard sauce. Cover with the remaining toasted bread and serve immediately, passing the extra sauce separately.