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Every year my parents let us pick what we wanted for our Birthday dinner. Back then, I was the pickiest eater. I always requested raviolis or teriyaki chicken. I think I lived on those two dishes through the first couple of years of college. I didn’t even like hamburgers!
When it was my brother’s birthday, he always picked Islands, a Southern California surf themed restaurant chain. It’s somewhat like the Tiki Room at Disneyland, but they serve food (and alcohol) and have several televisions showing surf movies throughout the restaurant (but there are no birds singing the In the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Room, thank goodness). They also served one of the only burgers I enjoyed as a kid: the Hawaiian Burger.
That burger is still a favorite. While working at Green Flash Brewing, my coworkers and I would sometimes stop by for Happy Hour. Without fail, I continue to order the same thing that I did as a kid, but now I can pair it with a local beer which makes it taste all that much better.
The recipe that follows is my take on that Hawaiian Burger and it is messy and delicious. Melted Swiss Cheese. Pineapple that slowly caramelizes on the grill. A medium Burger that’s been basted in Teriyaki Sauce. The only thing that could make it better? Smokey, crispy, Bacon. Or a runny Fried Egg. Maybe a slice of grilled Spam. Mmm, Spam. I’m definitely going to have to try that next time.
A few notes on the hamburger patty itself… My local butcher shop carries incredibly good hamburger patties during the Summer months, so I often opt to save time and use theirs. But when I do make my own, I request ground to order 80/20 beef. To make the patties, I transfer the meat to a large bowl and generously season with salt and pepper then place back in the fridge to chill. Forming the patties while the meat is cold will help prevent the fat from melting which is important because melted fat will cause a less tender burger. When forming the patties, use slightly wet hands to prevent the meat from sticking and handle them gently. To ensure they hold their shape while grilling, place the formed patties in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour.
Pair with a tropical forward IPA like Modern Times Fortunate Islands. Or a crisp Lager like Kona Longboard Lager. Want to accentuate the Pineapple flavors? Serve alongside a Maui Brewing Mana Wheat. Cheers!
To prevent from drying out, do not press down on the burger while grilling.
4 (6 ounce) hamburger patties
4 hamburger buns, white or whole wheat
8 pineapple rings
4 slices swiss cheese
Teriyaki Beer Glaze
Green lettuce leaves
Red onion slices
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat and coat lightly with oil. Brush pineapples rings with teriyaki glaze; grill until warmed through and slightly caramelized with nice grill marks, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate and set aside.
Brush the hamburger patties with teriyaki glaze. Grill 2 to 3 minutes, or until the juices just begin to pool on the top of the patty. Flip and continue to cook, basting with additional glaze, as desired, until medium. Top with a slice of swiss cheese and remove from grill once cheese begins to melt.
Place hamburger buns on the grill, cut side down, until slightly toasted.
To assemble the burger, coat the bottom half of the toasted bun with a layer of good quality mayonnaise; this will act as a barrier to prevent the bun from becoming soggy. Top the bottom bun with lettuce and tomato, followed by the hamburger patty. Place the pineapple rings and onion slices on top then cap with the top bun. Serve with additional teriyaki glaze.
To make the teriyaki sauce, combine all ingredients (except the cornstarch) in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. To make the glaze, reduce heat to low. While the sauce simmers, whisk together 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon water in a small bowl. Slowly whisk cornstarch slurry into teriyaki sauce and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until thickened. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.