Instead of eating ordinary hamburgers on a bun, take your hamburger dining experience to a whole new gastronomical level. By creatively substituting and adding different elements, you can successfully fuse together the flavors of different cultures. Last weekend I created Korean Barbecued Hamburgers for a weekend backyard barbecue. Soy sauce, sesame seeds, brown sugar, and chopped green onions flavored the hamburger meat. After grilling the patties, the fun began! Spicy kimchi topped the burgers instead of traditional pickles and a small handful of fresh pea shoots, instead of alfalfa sprouts, added a nice crunchy texture. And, in lieu of ketchup, I substituted Korean Ssamjang sauce. Ssamjang sauce is a thick spicy condiment normally made from doenjang (Korean soybean paste), gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), sesame oil, onion, garlic and green onions. With everyone asking for MORE, these tasty burgers were deemed a huge hit!
Korean Hamburger Elements
Korean barbecued hamburger patties (recipe below)
Pea shoots (AKA pea sprouts)
Ssamjang-Mayo sauce (recipe below)
Korean Barbecued Hamburgers
Meat recipe revised from the Favorite Island Cookery: Book II
1 lb. ground beef
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1½ T. soy sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2-inch piece of ginger root, minced
1 tsp. sesame seed, toasted
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
Combine ingredients and form into patties. Broil 3 to 5 minutes on each side, pan fry or grill them on the barbecue.
Yields 3 to 4 servings
My Ssamjang-Mayo Sauce:
2 T. mayonnaise
1-2 T. Ssamjang sauce, depending on desired level of spiciness
Mix both ingredients together in a small bowl.
1. Spread Ssamjang-Mayo sauce on buns.
2. Add lettuce leaf to bottom portion of bun.
3. Place hamburger patty on lettuce leaf.
4. Place tomato slice on top of hamburger patty.
5. Put a few slices of kimchi on top of tomato.
6. Place a small handful of pea shoots on top of the tomato.
7. Place top portion of bun on top of shoots.
1. I always double the meat recipe when serving 5 people.
2. Kimchi, Ssamjang sauce, and pea shoots can be purchased at most Asian markets. Kimchi and pea shoots can often be found at Trader Joe’s and I’ve purchased pea shoots at farmers’ markets, although they’re more expensive there.
3. If you can’t find Ssanjamg sauce, any chile garlic sauce like Sriracha can be used.
4. Recipes for two great side dishes to accompany these Korean Barbecued Hamburgers can also be found on this blog:
Asian Cucumber Salad
Enjoy these flavorful burgers and make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand!