If you haven’t heard of Island Creek Oyster Company, it’s about time you did, and this burger is the perfect way to discover it. To pay homage to the Duxbury, Mass., oyster farm, the authors of Wicked Good Burgers devised this tasty burger recipe that’s topped with perfectly fried oysters and a tartar sauce. We like it so much because of the way they time the recipe — they even tell you when to start heating your oil for the oysters while you’re creating the burger.
* Visit Island Creek's website to order oysters straight to your door.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the egg, lemon juice, pickles, pickle juice, mustard, and Old Bay seasoning. Process until smooth. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil into the food processor until the mixture is smooth, thick, and shiny, with the consistency of mayonnaise. Stir in the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week.
In a large bowl, combine the ground pork and beef with the sage and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the meat into four 6-ounce portions and shape into patties.
We prefer the griddle/skillet technique to cook these burgers, but grilling works very well, too, especially in the summer. If using the skillet, heat it over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready.
While the skillet is heating, prepare the oyster coating and a deep saucepan for frying (see below). Fill with 4 inches of oil and set over medium-high heat. The oil should reach 350 degrees by the time you are ready to fry the oysters.
Brush oil onto the skillet and sear the burgers for 2 minutes. Turn the burgers over and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil, and let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.
If grilling, prepare a kettle grill for grilling. Clean the grill grate well with a stiff wire brush. Build a hot charcoal fire on one side. Leave the other side empty. Brush the grill grate with oil.
Place the burgers on the grill directly over the fire and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the burgers over and cook for another 2 minutes. Move to the cool side of the grill and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
While the burgers are resting or cooking on the cool side of the grill, fry the oysters.
To serve, place a piece of bibb lettuce on the bottom of each bun. Spread a generous schmear of tartar aioli on the top 1/2. Set the burgers on the lettuce and top with 2 slices of bacon, 3 oysters, and the top bun. Eat immediately.
You can use any oysters you like, but we prefer medium to large ones here. If you don’t want to put 3 oysters on your burger, it’s always fun to have a few extras for munching.
In a small bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, cayenne, thyme, and black pepper. Fill a large sauté pan with ½ inch of oil and set over high heat. Bring the oil to 350 degrees.
Toss the oysters in the dry mixture to coat completely and shake lightly to remove excess. Carefully place the oysters in the pan. Fry for 30 seconds per side, turning carefully with a slotted spoon or spider, until golden brown and not entirely firm. Remove from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Season lightly with kosher salt and keep warm until ready to assemble the burgers.