“Hamburgers are beef and that’s just the way it is,” sayeth barbecue purists. I love a good burger, though I’ve become very picky about my ground beef. I’ve stopped buying red meat altogether at Wegmans unless it’s grass-fed and that’s only out of convenience. I try to get it where I know the meat has been ground on-site, which means Nichols, Ascioti’s or Side Hill Farmers. I received a meat grinder for Father’s Day, but I have yet to carve out enough time to put it through its paces. Whether the meat is organic or grass-fed makes little difference to me. My concern is that the meat is sourced domestically (if not locally) and that the meat is processed and sold quickly.
I should be equally as touchy about my pork, as pigs tend to be dirtier animals, but I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that it is beef — not pork — that seems to have the bigger problems with its supply chain.
Anyhow, back to burgers, I’m not a purist. Yes, I like beef but you are as likely to see me eat a pork burger. Ground pork mixes just like beef and, depending on your source, has more flavor. It also responds better to mix-ins, as in the case of these burgers that are spiked with traditional barbecue flavors.
WHAT WORKED: These go together nicely in a cast iron pan on your stovetop if, as in this case, rain keeps you away from the grill.
WHAT DIDN’T: I swore I had cheese in my fridge. I almost always have a piece of cheddar or some sliced provolone lurking about. It’s not necessary, but cheese is always a plus when it comes to burgers.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy.
BEST FOR: Mid-week dinner or something different for a cookout.
SERVE WITH: Coleslaw, baked beans, and a cold beer.