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Barbecue Pork Burgers

Spicing up store-bought—or homemade—barbecue sauce with cayenne and vinegar is an easy trick that makes a big difference. Here, the barbecue sauce is mixed into the meat, slathered onto the cooked pork burgers for the last minute of grilling, and brushed on the bun.

Although most of the ground pork that you buy in the supermarket doesn’t indicate what part of the pig it hails from, we know that good pork burgers, like good beef burgers, is made from shoulder meat. If you have access to a butcher, ask for pork ground from the shoulder (ideally the pork butt, a confusingly named shoulder cut). It’s got a good ratio of meat to fat, and for a juicy, flavorful burger, lean is not the way to go; fat is where the real flavor is. For the best texture, ask the butcher to run it through the grinder only once, on a coarse setting.–The Editors of Gourmet

LC Make a Pig of Oneself Note

These oh-so-clever pork burgers brilliantly riff on slow-roasted pulled pig, juxtaposing the sweet tenderness of ground pork with the tang of doctored-up bottled (or homemade)  barbecue sauce and the crunch of a quick slaw in this weeknight-friendly, slap-it-on-the-grill incarnation. Whether you indulge in the full-scale rendition or in wee-but-messy sliders, go ahead, make a pig of yourself.

Barbecue Pork Burgers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the slaw
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup very finely shredded carrot
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives or scallions
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the pork burgers
  • 1/2 cup your fave tomato-based barbecue sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for the grill rack
  • 4 buns or kaiser rolls or soft squishy breadstuff of some sort, split and toasted or grilled

Directions

  • Make the slaw
  • 1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and vinegar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the cabbage, carrot, chives, and salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat. Let the slaw stand at room temperature, uncovered, while you cook the burgers or, if you prefer your slaw crisp, cover it and refrigerate it for up to 8 hours.
  • Make the pork burgers
  • 2. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium heat for gas.
  • 3. Stir together the barbecue sauce, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vinegar in a small bowl until combined.
  • 4. Gently mix together the pork, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce mixture until combined. Do not overmix. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 4 inches in diameter and 3/4 of an inch thick, being careful not to pack the pork too tightly.
  • 5. Oil the grill rack and then grill the burgers, flipping them every few minutes, until just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes total. Then brush the top of each patty with 1 tablespoon or more of the barbecue sauce mixture, flip again, and grill for 30 seconds. Repeat, so that both sides have been slathered with the barbecue sauce mixture. Brush the cut sides of each of the buns with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture.
  • 6. Assemble the burgers, starting with the buns and the burgers and adding a heaping spoonful of coleslaw atop each one. Don’t forget to grab the napkins.
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