Summer time is burger time, and now that I have a meat grinder, its that much more fun for me to experiment with different kinds of burgers. After seeing these Pacific Rim Burgers, I knew I had to try something similar. Plus, it had been a while since I did much with chicken (we’ve been eating more beef lately), so it seemed like a fun change. So I took that recipe in a similar direction and made a teriyaki chicken burger.
I really enjoyed this–the burgers had a nice, tangy-but-sweet teriyaki flavor, with a good mix of peppers and light heat to them. The texture, something I was curious about (never dealt with ground chicken before), was also thankfully quite nice. The sweetness to the teriyaki also made it easier to get a good caramelization on the outside of the burgers from the high heat of the grill, which made it that much more enjoyable. The burgers were topped with a surprisingly potent ginger/lime mayonnaise (which was a fantastic complement, even if you’re not much of a mayo person. I’m not!), slices of cucumber (some good, crisp, bites for a contrast in texture and coolness), and a grilled round of pineapple, which I think is a semi-cheesy, but essential cherry-on-top garnish for anything teriyaki with the right bit of acidic sweetness to keep things interesting (my wife however thinks pineapple has no place on top of anyone’s burger, especially hers, so to each his own ).
Also, for what its worth, you can buy preground chicken from the grocery store, but just like how you can buy preground beef, doing it yourself means you can control what goes in. Just like how I almost never use chicken breasts (thighs are so much better), I wasn’t interested in picking up a package of ground breasts. Thighs have more flavor, more fat (important when you’re making burgers! You want them juicy, not dry), and are cheaper, but really, go with whatever floats your boat.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 Tbsp hoisin
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp sambal oelek
- ~2 lbs chicken thighs
- 2 green onions
- 2 jalapeño / fresno peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- handful cilantro, leaves & stems
- handful of tarragon leaves
- 1 egg
- 2/3-1 cup panko bread crumbs
- vegetable oil
- Ginger Mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 inch knob of ginger
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Ginger Mayonnaise
In a pot over medium heat, warm up the soy sauce, mirin, hoisin, and honey for 5 minutes and stir periodically to dissolve the honey and hoisin. This should thicken a bit. Its not quite 100% teriyaki, but take a taste–its pretty darn good. Cool this down for a few minutes and mix in the sambal oelek.
While you wait for the sauce to cool down, trim any very excessive fat off of the chicken thighs and cut into long, thin strips. Do the same for the green onions, peppers, and garlic. Set the vegetables aside and marinate the chicken in the teriyaki for at least 30 minutes.
Push the chicken, herbs, and vegetables through the meat grinder. Don’t pour any excess marinade through since that probably won’t yield great results. In a separate bowl, beat the marinade and egg. Work this gently into the ground chicken mixture.
Lastly, work the bread crumbs into the ground chicken gently. Coat your hands liberally with vegetable oil (the chicken mixture is surprisingly tacky/sticky and it will be difficult for you to work with) and form burger patties. Rub those with a bit of oil on all sides. Chill these in the fridge while you fire up your grill and get all your other elements ready for your meal.
So now, prepare the toppings. The mayo is an easy one: peel the garlic and ginger, juice the lime, and throw that along with the mayo and salt into a blender/food processor and whiz away–done!
Cut thin slices of cucumber and set them aside.
If you have a fancy schmancy pineapple corer, use it. I don’t though and did just fine–cut off the peel/eyes, slice out the core, and cut even thickness rounds. Set this aside.
Finally, time to put it all together. Grill the chicken burgers for 10 minutes, flipping once. Be careful that you don’t scorch these since the sugar content (in the teriyaki marinade) means your prone to burning. If things do start to look a little more charred than they should, move the burgers over to indirect heat on your grill (roughly 400°F would be good) so that they cook all the way through. You might not need to, but just keep an eye on it.
Cook the pineapple on the grill for roughly 2 minutes per side. Finally, pile it all on: bun, burger, mayo, cucumber, and pineapple. Enjoy!