These burgers combine so many of my favorite tastes, starting with the basic pleasure of a delicious juicy grilled hamburger. Add to that the complex flavors of sesame, soy, brown sugar, scallions and ginger. The sugar helps the burger caramelize on the outside when grilled. Drape some pickled onions and radishes on top for a kick of vinegary crunch. For the final touch, smear some miso mayonnaise on the bun – creamy and intensely umami. Mmmm! This is a very special treat for the tastebuds. I apologize in advance for the sadness you’re likely to experience when you take your last bite.
Korea is renowned for their marinated meat dishes, such as Bulgogi. Bulgogi is made from sliced, marinated and grilled prime cuts of beef. The marinade ingredients for Bulgogi are the same as the ones in this burger recipe.
It takes little effort, and just an hour in the fridge, to make delicious spicy pickled onions and radishes.
I’ve been making a version of these burgers for years, adapted from a recipe I found in a 2007 Cooking Light Magazine. I’ve tweaked it a bit and added the pickles and the sauce. The pickles add a lot and burgers need some sort of sauce on top. I’ve tried ketchup, but found that it overpowers the wonderful flavors of the meat. Miso mayonnaise is the perfect complement. Miso is a thick paste made from fermented soy beans, rice or barley. It’s a very important ingredient in Japanese cooking, valued for its intensely savory and unique flavor. It’s available at Whole Foods and Asian grocers. I strongly recommend that you try it – it’s a flavor that can’t be replicated. And you can save the jar for future recipes. Miso, because it’s fermented, can be stored in the fridge indefinitely. If you can’t find it, here’s a good substitute: In a small saucepan, simmer 2 tablespoons brown sugar with 2 tablespoons soy sauce for 2 minutes, until it gets thick and syrupy. Cool. Add to 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce and whisk until combined.
Here the recipe for Korean BBQ Burgers with homemade pickled radishes, onions, and miso mayonnaise. If you make these, please come back and let me know how they turned out.
- Pickled radishes & red onions
- 1 bunch of radishes, washed, ends trimmed. and very thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion, peeled, sliced into very thin rings, rings separated
- 1½ cups distilled white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Miso Mayonnaise
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons miso paste (brown rice miso from Whole Foods is my favorite)
- ¼ teaspoon sriracha (hot sauce)
- 2¼ pounds ground beef
- ½ cup scallions (5-6), root end and 2 inches of green end trimmed off, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (2-3 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root (1½ inch chunk)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 hamburger buns (I recommend potato burger buns)
- Miso Mayonnaise (recipe below)
- 6 leaves from a head of green leaf lettuce, washed, ends trimmed
- Pickled radishes and red onions (recipe below)
- Pickled radishes and red onions Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook just until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat. Put onions and radishes into a medium sized bowl. Pour Vinegar mixture over and stir. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 3 days.
- Miso mayonnaise whisk mayonnaise, miso and sriracha. Store in the fridge up to 3 days.
- Burgers Mix ground beef, scallions, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and black pepper in large bowl until just combined. Shape into 6 burgers. Grill for about 6 minutes per side over medium-high heat for medium rare. Toast the buns for a minute or so. Serve burgers, topped with picked onions and radishes and a lettuce leaf. Spread miso mayonnaise on the top of the bun. Enjoy!