I have to confess, I'm not the most mature person. The first time I heard the term "jerk" in reference to how food is prepared (oh, four or five years ago), I giggled and thought to myself, "Prepared BY jerks or FOR jerks?" Yeah, really original, I'm sure.
I later learned that the word jerk can mean either the spice mixture (dry spice rub or wet marinade) used to flavor the food (traditionally pork or chicken), or the style of cooking (traditionally in a fire pit). Both are native to Jamaica. Traditional jerk spice is made with Scotch bonnet peppers, one of the hottest peppers there is to eat. Mmmmmm, spicy!
So when, for our swap (sandwich/burger themed), I received a recipe for "Island Jerk Burgers with Zesty Lime Coleslaw" from the author of The Boys Made Me Do It, I was really excited. I decided to tweak the recipe a bit. Mayo-based salads, like coleslaw, squick me out. OK, mayo in general squicks me out. I wanted to include the lime flavor from the coleslaw, so instead of including a slice of grilled pineapple (since I don't own a grill), I threw together a pineapple-lime salsa to put on top of the burgers.
I took one bite of my burger and — wow! I can't stress enough how much I loved this burger! I must confess that it's probably not anything I would have ordered off a restaurant menu; I'm a pretty straightforward burger-with-cheese-lettuce-and-tomato girl. But this recipe is a keeper. It just screams tropical summer, and will be making many repeat appearances on our table. I also served the burgers with a side of chipotle-spiced sweet potato fries.
Island Burgers with Pineapple-Lime Salsa
Burger adapted from The Boys Made Me Do It
Salsa slightly adapted from Food52.com
Serves 4, with extra salsa
For the salsa:
- ½ pineapple, cut into small dice
- ½ sweet onion, cut into small dice
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
- Pepper to taste
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 avocado
For the burgers:
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef (preferably 80/20)
- 4 tsp jerk seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices Cheddar cheese
- 4 burger rolls (I used King's Hawaiian-brand sweet burger rolls)
- Early the day of serving, or the day before, combine the pineapple, sweet onion, cilantro, pepper and lime juice in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for one hour, then cover and refrigerate.
- Divide the beef into 6-ounce portions and form into patties. Use your thumb to press an indentation in the center of each patty.
- Sprinkle the top half of each patty with ½ teaspoon jerk seasoning. Flip over and season the other side with another ½ teaspoon of seasoning.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the burgers and cook for 6 minutes. Split the burger buns, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Flip and cook another 6 minutes for medium-rare doneness and place baking sheet in oven to toast the burger buns.
- Place one slice of cheese atop each burger and cover the skillet with a large pot lid to melt the cheese. While cheese is melting, dice the avocado, add it to the salsa, and gently toss to combine.
- Place one patty on each roll and top with a spoonful or two of the salsa.