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Chinese Mu Shu Pork Burgers

"In the States, you can buy Chinese food. In Beijing you can buy hamburger. Now I feel the world become a big family, like a really big family."Jet Li

These wonderfully flavorful and juicy burgers contain most of the same ingredients found in the Chinese restaurant classic, Mu Shu Pork (also spelled Moo Shu Pork). In restaurants it is made from shredded pork, scrambled eggs, wood ear mushrooms, day lily buds, ginger, garlic, green onions, and served on tortilla-like Chinese pancakes slathered with rich, sweet, hoisin sauce, and rolled up like a burrito. Here I have deconstructed and reconfigured it as a colorful, flavorful, better burger. You can also make a fun sausage with this recipe.

Recipe

Makes. Makes 4 large burgers

Takes. 30 minutes prep, 25 minutes to cook

Drink. A light ale or good lager, a dryish Riesling, or a pink wine.

Serve with. A great side dish is chilled soba noodles with cucumbers, dill, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.

Ingredients for the burger or sausage

3/4 pound ground pork muscle

1/4 pound ground pork fat

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup carrots, peeled and shredded with a peeler or box grater

1 raw egg

3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the small holes of a box grater

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like things hot)

For the mouth

6 good quality buns, brioche would be nice, kaiser will work fine

1 large sweet red bell pepper

4 teaspoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

4 leaves Romaine lettuce (or another crunchy lettuce), chopped

1/4 cup scallions, chopped on a bias

About the ginger. This is an important flavor so use fresh ginger, not ground.

Method

1) Mix the burger/sausage ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Form into 4 patties about 3/4" thick or stuff into casings. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw meat and egg mixture.

2) To make burgers: Prepare a grill in a 2-zone setup and clean the grates well. Clean grates is important because these burgers are not as firm as regular hamburgers and they will stick to dirty grates.

3) Slice the bell pepper in half, discard the seeds and stem, and wash. Place the two halves skin down over the hot part of the grill and close the lid. Cook until the skin blackens and blisters, about 5 minutes. Remove the pepper, put it in a bowl, and cover it with a plate so the steam will loosen the skin. Peel the skin and cut the roasted meat into thin strips.

4) Brush oil on the burgers so they will not stick. Place the patties on the grates on the indirect side. Cook the burgers with the cover on until they hit about 145F, then move to the direct side and leave the lid up while youo sear. Gently flip the burgers every 2 minutes being careful not to allow them to break apart. Remove when internal temperature of the burger is 160°F. If the coals flare up or the meat begins to char, move the burgers to the indirect zone.

6) While the burgers are cooking, toast the cut side of the buns over the middle between the direct and indirect zone, watching them carefully so they do not burn. Remove them and spread the chopped Romaine on the bottom halves of the buns, and the red pepper strips on top of the lettuce.

7) When the burgers are done, set them on the lettuce, spread 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce on top, sprinkle them with sesame seeds and scallions. Put the top of the bun next to the colorful burger and serve.

This page was revised

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