Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Luau Pork Burger with Grilled Pineapple, Vidalia Onion, & From Scratch Luau Sauce

This has everything a burger have. Each bite is a big mouthful of layered flavors with juice and sauce that end up running down your hand to drip off your elbow. You've got to start with ground pork that is unseasoned... pork sausage won't do for this burger! Buy the best pastured pork you can find, like Thames Farm (they ship!) ground pork, that is tender and lean and flavorful, then add some special seasonings, grill up a slice of pineapple and vidalia onion, then layer all in a sturdy bun. Then comes the sauce. Oh, the sauce!. Here are the recipes....

Luau Sauce
Adapted from Best of the Best from Hawai'i Cookbook
(for pork burger, ribs, chicken wings, or right off the spoon onto your tongue!)

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice 
2 T. ketchup
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (or use the jarred)
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (less of you don't like heat)
1 T. grated ginger root (not's so worth getting a knob of the fresh for this recipe)
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. cold water to make a slurry

Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch slurry in a 1 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the cornstarch slurry. Stir frequently till sauce is thick and shiny. You can make this days ahead and refrigerate till you're ready to use it. Just reheat it first. (I double this recipe because it keeps a long time in the fridge and is nice to have on hand.)

Luau Pork Burger
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 lb. lean ground pork from Thames Farm (unseasoned, not sausage)
1/4 c. chopped chives
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (yes, the powder will do for this)
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground mace
1/2 tsp. salt (or less if you're watching sodium, but this is a tasty amount)
Couple grinds of black pepper...not too much
4 slices of pineapple (fresh or canned)
4 thick slices of Vidalia onion
Buns, sliced and buttered (Pretzel buns work great for this burger!)

Combine all of the above ingredients except the pineapple and onion & buns in a bowl. LIGHTLY mix with your fingers until all the spices are distributed well, then form into four flat patties. Put them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and slide into the fridge till well-chilled, even overnight.

Coat the onion slices with olive oil, salt and pepper, and microwave for 30 seconds or so till they start to soften. You can do this a day ahead, too. 

Heat your grill to high heat to get the grate nice and hot to make grill marks, then lower the heat to medium low. Put the icy cold pork patties on the grate and close the lid. Grill for a minute or two, just till the meat begins to tighten up and the grill marks are dark, then turn the patties. Put the onions and pineapple slices on the grill. Close the lid for another minute or two. Touch the pork and if it is firm, then it is cooked through. Whatever you do, don't over cook the pork. Remove the pork to a plate, cover and keep warm. Flip the pineapple and onion (these should have nice grill marks, too) and then add them to the plate with the pork burgers. Grill the buns, buttered side down, for just a few seconds to brown.
Assemble: Layer burger, onion, pineapple and drizzle all with the sauce. Stick a green romaine leaf on top (because we need our green veggies). 
Serve: Sweet potato fries go great with this! Don't like them because they're not crispy? Cut up your sweet potato into fries and toss with cornstarch, then toss in some olive oil til they're coated. Roast at 425* in single layer on a foil-lined and oiled cookie sheet, turning once, till golden brown (about 15 minutes or so) and they WILL be crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside!


  1. Yummmy! Sounds like your luau sauce is comparable to a zippity-doo-dah teriyaki sauce. Bet it would also be delicious if you slice a tender pork loin, cook the slices briefly in the sauce and finish it off the same way as your pork burger. Going to try this....thanks, Debbie. :)

    1. You're welcome...and you are so right, this really IS a zippity-doo-dah sauce! I know you'll love all the chiles in there! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Bob has had one for supper three nights in a row! (He gets all the left overs because I had a wisdom tooth extracted and I'm only allowed to eat really soft food.) He said he didn't mind at all. :-)