Kalbi Ssam Burgers
D'Artagnan | Yield: serves 4
These veggie-packed Korean-style buffalo burgers are heavy on flavor and light on your waistline. We ditched the buns for fresh lettuce wraps and topped with a sweet and spicy kimchi slaw and a zesty chili mayo.
- ½ cup + 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, divided use
- 1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, divided use
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey or agave, divided use
- ¼ cup rice wine, or dry sherry
- ½ white onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Asian pear, divided use
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons gochujang pepper paste, divided use
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Buffalo Burgers
- 1 cup shredded cabbage, red, green, or both
- ¼ cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup kimchi, chopped + 1/8 cup kimchi liquid reserved
- 2 scallions, sliced on the bias
- Small handful roasted cashews, chopped
- 1/8 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or avocado
- 1/3 cup Japanese mayonnaise, like QP
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 large head bibb lettuce, leaves separated
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Make the marinade: in a blender, combine ½ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, rice wine, onion, ½ of the pear, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of the gochujang, and a few grinds of pepper. Blend until smooth. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade, cover and refrigerate. Pour the rest of the marinade over the burgers in a non-reactive container, turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, or up to overnight.
- Shred remaining half of pear on a box grater. In a mixing bowl, toss together pear, cabbage, carrot, kimchi, scallions, and cashews. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, reserved kimchi liquid, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon honey. Pour vinaigrette over the slaw, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
- In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon gochujang, and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to cook, remove the burgers from the marinade and brush excess off (discard marinade). Season both sides of each patty lightly with salt. Cook your patties to desired doneness (we recommend medium-rare), using a hot oiled grill or pre-heated, lightly-greased cast iron pan; brushing with the reserved ¼ cup of “clean” marinade as they cook. Remove patties from heat; rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Divide the large lettuce leaves into 4 piles. Stir sesame seeds into slaw. Place a patty on each bed of leaves then dress with slaw and a drizzle of the chili mayo. Serve immediately.