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Grilled Three-Pork Burgers

These burgers, made with ground pork shoulder, chorizo and bacon, pack a lot of flavor. Letting the mixture rest in the refrigerator allows the seasonings to marry and develop. If fresh chorizo is unavailable, use a link of fresh, hot Italian sausage, increase the garlic to 4 cloves and double the quantity of smoked paprika.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. nicely marbled boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and cut into large chunks 
  • 1 shallot, quartered 
  • 3 garlic cloves  
  • 1/4 lb. fresh, soft chorizo sausage, casing removed  
  • 3 oz. bacon, very finely chopped 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 6 crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted 
  • Mayonnaise for serving 
  • 6 to 12 crisp lettuce leaves 
  • 6 tomato slices 

Directions:

Place the pork shoulder on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the fennel, shallot and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Add one-third of the chilled pork shoulder to the processor and pulse about 12 times until coarsely chopped; don’t let it turn to mush. You may have to redistribute the pork to achieve an even texture. Scrape out the pork into the bowl without compacting the meat. Repeat to chop the remaining pork.

Using a fork, thoroughly mix in the chorizo, bacon, cumin, paprika, thyme, parsley, the 3/4 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Form 6 loosely packed patties, then gently flatten them to about 1 inch thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours; cover with plastic wrap if chilling more than 1 hour.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.

Season the burgers with salt and pepper. Place on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire or in the grill pan and cook, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a burger registers 155° to 160°F, 8 to 10 minutes total. Turn the burgers again if necessary. The center of each burger will be just barely pink.

Spread the bottoms of the rolls with mayonnaise. Top with the lettuce, burgers, tomato slices and the tops of the rolls. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

A note from the butcher: If you are having a hard time finding the perfect chorizo for this recipe, andouille is a good substitution. When grinding pork at home, coarsely grind the well-chilled meat just once to preserve its texture.

— Amelia Posada, Lindy and Grundy’s Meats, Los Angeles, CA

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Cook and The Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2011).