Story time: the other day I was watching an episode of Kids BBQ Championship on Food Network. The challenge was to create burgers using an international flavor. I turned to my mom and said, “We should make Filipino burgers!” To which she replied, “Maybe that’s what we should have for Memorial Day!” And here we are, folks. It is now two days past Memorial Day and I am still full from a delicious grilled meal. What’s on this year’s holiday menu? Oh, just some grilled corn, a nice fresh salad and Pinoy burgers with chipotle mayo.
What is a Pinoy burger, you ask? Well, first let me just say that Pinoy is a Filipino term for Filipino. I’m not sure where it comes from but I’ve heard it all my life. So, basically Pinoy burgers are just burgers made Filipino-style. My mom thought up this recipe and she (rightly) deserves all the credit for its fantastic flavors.
But what’s in the Pinoy burgers that make them Filipino? Well, the flavors of this burger are based solely on another Filipino dish, Adobo. If you’ve ever had Filipino food–and you’re not Filipino–chances are you’ve had one of three dishes: Lumpia, Pancit, or Adobo. If you are Filipino, chances are you’ve eaten adobo in every iteration. It’s likely one of your favorite/go-to meals. Our adobo contains three ingredients (yes, just three!): garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. I’ve heard of other versions that also make it with bay leaves and such, but pretty much every version will have soy sauce and vinegar.
Adobo is one of the easiest meals to make. If you’re just starting to learn to cook Filipino food, it doesn’t get more basic than Adobo. If you’re just staring to cook in general, it doesn’t get more basic than Adobo. But don’t be fooled! This simple dish packs a ton of flavor. Adobo is all about the delicate balance between salty and sour. You want to make sure it is neither too salty nor too sour. Finding that balance is the key to creating the adobo flavor.
Anyways, the burger itself is a mix of ground pork and ground beef. You drench it in salt, pepper and garlic powder and then douse it with a hefty dose of soy sauce and vinegar. Mix together with your hands–or with a spoon if you’re not feeling daring. Let it marinate for a while, the longer the better, before forming the patties. Grill them like the master says and then you’re good to go!
Now, if that wasn’t enough there’s the chipotle mayo. My mom was feeling ambitious and decided her Pinoy burgers needed more. So she added a fried egg and made her own chipotle mayo. All together it was an extreme party in my mouth. The burger had that juicy texture and delicious subtle adobo flavor. The mayo soon became the star of the dish with its bold spiciness and smokey flavors. Every bite was an invitation for more!
This is definitely one of those meals where you desperately want seconds, but know you’ll hate yourself if you do. For the record, I ate a small second serving and it was worth the self-hatred. I remember telling my parents that I was sure I was going to go over my calorie budget that day before I even finished breakfast. I did go over, and it was glorious. Sometimes, you gotta just forget the diet. If not on a holiday, then when?
Before I conclude I just want to take this time to thank all of those who gave their lives so that I may live mine freely and peacefully every day. Your sacrifice is never forgotten.
My grandfather was a WWII veteran. He fought as a Guerrilla soldier in the Philippines when he was just 15 years old. No one was more of a bad ass, and no one had more of a romantic side. He was a great man who loved his family more than anything else. In 1995, he came to this country to be with his children and grandchildren. When I was a teenager he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and after battling it for more than a decade, he passed. I thank him for his service as a war vet and his sacrifice as a father and grandfather. I think of him often and miss him always. Love you, Lolo. Happy Memorial Day to him and everyone else.
What do you think of Pinoy burgers? How did you spend your holiday?
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 lbs ground beef
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 5 tbsp white vinegar
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 set hamburger buns
- 1 slice your favorite cheese
- 1 fried egg
- 1-3 slices red onion
- 1 slice lettuce
- 1 slice tomato
- 1 tbsp chipotle mayonnaise
In a large bowl add the ground pork and ground beef. Generously add salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix together.
Add soy sauce and vinegar. Mix again thoroughly. Marinate for at least an hour. Form into flat patties, separating with parchment paper.
Heat the grill to 350 degrees. Grill on both sides until medium (light pink center) and charred, about 5-7 minutes on each side. Add cheese on one side after flipping. Keep grilling until cheese melts. Set aside.
To create you burger, add chipotle mayonnaise to the hamburger buns. Add the burger with melted cheese. Top with a fried egg, red onion, tomato, and lettuce. Add the other burger bun and serve with grilled corn!
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/3 ounce chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp chili powder
In a large bowl add the chipotle peppers. Crush using a fork.
Add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a fork until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve on a burger or sandwich!