CRAVE: Asian chili-garlic sauce punches up pork burgers

This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Smoky Chili-Garlic Pork Burgers. (Milk Street via AP)

For this year’s summer cookouts, update long-held traditions with globally inspired flavors — starting with the burger.

This recipe from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, is loosely based on a Filipino “chori” burger. It’s a spiced chorizo patty topped with a banana ketchup, mayo and a relish called atchara, or pickled green papaya. The sweet-savory toppings wonderfully balance the richness of the chili-spiced pork.

Looking to pare the ingredients down to the essentials, we tried jarred Asian chili-garlic sauce and were delighted with the results. Most jars at the supermarket contain a bright mixture of chilies and garlic, of course, but also tangy rice vinegar, salt and sugar, making it several seasonings in one.

Since pork burgers tend to dry out easily, we mixed the sauce directly into the ground pork to help keep the meat moist. A smear of chili-garlic mayonnaise reinforced the flavors in the meat mixture.

Pillow-soft, subtly sweet buns are a particularly good match for the tender, juicy burgers — we especially like potato buns or rolls. Serve with lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles or any of your favorite burger toppings.

Smoky Chili-Garlic Pork Burgers

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

5 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, divided

3 teaspoons packed brown sugar, divided

1 pound ground pork

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon neutral oil

4 hamburger buns, preferably potato buns

Directions:

Mix the mayonnaise, 5 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a medium bowl, mix the pork, paprika, the remaining 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Form into 4 patties. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, until well browned on both sides and the centers reach 160°F, 8 to 10 minutes total. Serve in buns spread with the mayonnaise mixture.

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