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Pork Burgers with Thyme Mayo and Red Cabbage Crunch Recipe


Pork Burger

Since I was a vegetarian until recently, I haven’t been a burger lover for long. In fact, throughout my life, I’ve never liked the texture of burgers and instead have been partial to veggie burgers and other types of patties, croquettes, and cakes. But ground beef? Not necessarily my favorite thing to mix, shape, and grill (or fry).

Enter the pork butt. Alex calls pork the Cadillac of meats, and last week at dinner we explained why to our guests at my mom’s house. It’s just so fatty. And fat makes for a great burger.

Pork burgers are simple, flavorful, and a great change of pace if you’ve been grilling regular burgers all this time. They take really well to condiments, too. Mark Bittman sung their praises a while back, which is the original inspiration for this recipe. I recommended Bittman’s take on the burgers to my sister Jill, who successfully made them (and who insists you must eat them on honey wheat English muffins, which I failed to find). Jill, in turn, recommended the burgers back to me.

They were easy to make and easy to grill (in the dark). With the creaminess of herb-spiked mayo and the crunchiness of my mom’s cabbage slaw, these burgers say summer to me. — Cara


For the red cabbage crunch:

  • 1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed

For the thyme mayo:

  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

For the burgers:

  • 3 ½ pound ground pork*
  • 1 stalk fennel, minced (about a cup)*
  • ½ yellow onion, minced (about half a cup)*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-14 English muffins, toasted, preferably on the grill


For the red cabbage crunch:

Combine all the ingredients. Allow to sit for at least an hour. Taste and add more salt, sugar, or vinegar as needed.

For the thyme mayo:

Combine the ingredients. Scoop into a small bowl for serving.

For the burgers:

Combine the ground meat, onion, fennel, salt, and as much fresh pepper as you can grind before your hands get paralyzed. Shape the burgers into 12-14 patties. (They should have a diameter of 5-6 inches and be about 1 ½-inches thick.)

Grill on a medium-high fire, with the grate set about 5 inches from the flames. Cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until the burgers are firm, slightly smaller than when you started, and have just the slightest trace of pink in the inside. Push the burgers to the outside of the grill, away from the flame, and grill the English muffins.

You can also broil the burgers for the same amount of time. Or you can cook them in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

Arrange the burgers on a platter, along with the English muffins. Set out the thyme mayo and the red cabbage crunch and allow guests to assemble their burgers.