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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

FreshTartSteph Recipe: Pork Burgers

FreshTartSteph Recipe: Pork Burgers

Stephanie Meyer

Burger maniacs (including myself), I have a proposition for you (us)...pork burgers! Why do we all not eat pork burgers? I'm not suggesting that beef burgers are anything but delectable, but I have been pondering—given the borderline gastronomic insanity over bacon, pork belly, and charcuterie—why the heck isn't a fabulously juicy, porky burger on every menu in this town?

I took my question to Karen Weiss of Little Foot Farm, host of this summer's Outstanding in the Field farm dinner. Weiss and her partner Sally Doherty raise heritage breed hogs on their picture-perfect farm for chefs like Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant and Mike Phillips of Three Sons Meat Co., but they also sell their highly-prized pork to the public, including ground Gloucester Old Spot (GOS) pork.

Weiss confessed that she's on a mission to convince Minnesotans that pork burgers deserve a spot on everyone's grill, particularly best-quality pork like she and Doherty raise, the kind that actually tastes like pork.

Pork!

After grilling a few batches myself, I can not agree more. Not that I thought I wouldn't agree—it's no secret that I'm a big, BIG pork fan—but holy cow my friends, the first batch of burgers I pulled off the grill were not savored, they were inhaled. I seasoned them with nothing more than salt and pepper so we could enjoy the clean, rich, pure pork flavor that Little Foot's tender loving care delivers. In a buttered, toasted bun, of course. Gah.

For round two of pork play, I added cheddar cheese and tomato jam. Kablam. Future rounds might go breakfast-y with a fried egg and a crumble of bacon to gild the lily. Or Asian-style with scallions, ginger, and a splash of soy sauce. Or bratwurst-esque with caraway cheese and sauerkraut on a pretzel roll. Or even quicky barbecue, with a slathering of sauce topped with slaw before devouring. You get the picture—keep it simple, or go with classic-for-a-reason pork accompaniments. All paths lead to porktastic. Go!

A few tips for perfect, juicy burgers:
1. Choose best-quality meat with a good amount of fat in it.
2. Place ground meat in a bowl and gently work in salt and pepper and any other seasonings you're using. You want seasoning throughout the burger, not just on the surface, but you don't want to compress the grind, which makes burgers tough.
3. With that in mind, gently form the ground meat into patties. You pack, you puck. I'm not a thick burger purist—I was raised on thin diner-style burgers and I still love them—but thicker burgers do allow for the awesomeness of a nicely charred exterior with just-cooked interior.
4. With that in mind, cook burgers over medium-high heat so you can achieve that char in just a few minutes per side. Burgers cooked over low heat are grey and sad. Boo.

To purchase Little Foot Farm pork, call 612-207-9771 or email customerservice@littlefootfarm.com.

Posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Oct 9, 2012 09:14 pm
 Posted by  Not Mentioned

Q: Why do we all not eat pork burgers?

A: Many reason. Logistically because until relatively recently it was difficult to get high quality non-factory garbage ground pork for the average consumer. Link above and Prarie Pride are good sources. Second because pork fat benefits from a slower cook, not a high heat grill or griddle. Meatballs; yes. Simmered Italian links; sure. Pulled pork; all day every day. Thin-patty style on a bun? Maybe as a mixed-meat with pork and beef and/or chicken, but as a thick puck most people would balk at the interior/exterior cooking difference. I think a better use for ground pork is a classic terrine.

Oct 10, 2012 08:25 am
 Posted by  karenw

You did the pork burger proud!

Oct 10, 2012 10:13 am
 Posted by  Fresh Tart

Thanks Karen! What a treat. Looking forward to more!

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TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Chef Jason Ross, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

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