Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Korean BBQ-Style Burgers

I love burgers.  Alex always makes fun of me because I have this unceasing obsession with burgers.  And he thinks that since I have rather "gourmet" tastes otherwise, it's funny that I like burgers as much as I do.  We have tried all kinds of burgers - from Italian-inspired burgers with prosciutto, basil, and mozzarella, to Southwest-inspired burgers with bacon, guac, pickled jalapenos, and monterey jack cheese.  But since I am currently obsessed with The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and Korean food, we decided to make the Korean BBQ-style Burgers.  We also had a great jar of Mother-in-Law's Kimchi in the fridge that I have been wanting to use so it all just seemed like fate.  Well, it would have seemed more fateful if I hadn't had to make a last minute trip to the grocery to buy hamburger buns, but what can you do?

Anyway, one of my favorite things about this burger is that it uses flavors traditionally used in Kalbi or Bulgogi marinade and then pairs it with kimchi and quick cucumber pickles - all on a bun.  The burgers were very moist and very flavorful, although when I make them again I might add a pinch or two of Korean red pepper flakes and 1 tsp of salt to the burger mix to give the burgers a bit more spice and heat.  Otherwise, they were delicious.  We served them with my favorite sweet potato fries from Trader Joe's.  Yum.  We also tweaked the recipe a little and since we had some left over mixed vegetable pickles that I made a week ago, instead of making Jaden's quick cucumber carrot pickle from the cookbook, we just thinly sliced some scallion and cucumber and threw it in with the mixed vegetable pickles.  Done deal. 

Recipe after the jump!

Korean BBQ-style Burgers
The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
By Jaden Hair

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (we used ground chuck - it has more fat and is more moist)
3 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp finely minced scallion
2 tsp sesame seeds
black pepper
PAM (or other cooking spray/cooking oil to grease the grillpan)
Cucumber Pickle
1 cup matchstick cut carrots (or 1 cup of grated carrots from the grocery)
1 cup matchstick cut cucumbers
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar

In a bowl, mix the ground beef, garlic, ginger, soy, sugar, scallion, sesame seeds and black pepper.  If you are like me and want more salt/heat, then add chili flakes or salt.  Form into 4 equal-sized hamburger patties (or if you are a glutton like I am, into 3).  Form a divot/indentation in the center of each burger to ensure that they stay flat once cooked and don't puff up into giant burger balls with peaks in the center.  Allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare quick cucumber pickle (if desired) by tossing all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat.  When grill pan is hot, spray with PAM.  Place the patties gently on the grill pan.  Allow to cook 5-7 minutes per side for medium, or cook longer if you want them well-done.  Serve with whatever burger toppings you desire.

Suggested banchan burger toppings:
Quick cucumber carrot pickle
Korean BBQ sauce

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