Tuesday Dinner: BBQ Pork Burgers

“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.


BEST FOR: Mid-week dinner or something different for a cookout.

SERVE WITH: Coleslaw, baked beans, and a cold beer.



BBQ Pork Burgers
  • 12 oz. ground pork
  • 1/4 cup Memphis-style barbecue sauce (Memphis is tomato-based. Kansas City sauce or sauces with molasses and too much sweet stuff will burn while cooking.)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • pinch of kosher salt 

Add the pork and spices to a mixing bowl and combine  with your hands. Add the barbecue sauce and combine well. You want the meat to be wet, but not dripping sauce. Let stand a few minutes to settle.

Preheat your grill. Reduce half of your burners to medium-high and the others to medium-low. Set the burgers on the medium-low side and cook eight minutes. Turn the burgers and cook an additional four minutes. (Or, preheat a cast-iron pan over high heat with a dash of canola oil. Add the patties to the pan and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with a large lid and cook 2 to 3 more minutes.) Your burgers should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Serve hot with extra barbecue sauce.

By Jared Paventi

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