Jamaican Jerk Burgers


July 21st, 2010 by Greg Jahnke




Looking for a way to spice up a summer barbecue? Try these hamburger patties, seasoned with a homemade Jamaican jerk spice mixture of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, green onions, and garlic. Scotch bonnets, or their habanero cousins, are insanely hot, so you don't really need much, half a 1 1/2-inch long pepper, seeds removed. Some people substitute jalapenos, but the flavor really is different, so I would stick to Scotch bonnets or habaneros if you can get them. Cool off the chili heat with a citrus, mayo-based coleslaw. The oil in the mayo helps to absorb the spicy chili, to take the edge of the heat.


2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chili pepper, seeds removed, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, at least 16% fat
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Pinch of chopped thyme
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp of orange juice or lime juice (if using lime juice add a teaspoon of sugar)
1 teaspoon of grated orange or lime zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 In a food processor, put the vinegar, water, chili, green onion, garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, finely mince the chili, garlic, and green onion. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

2 Using your hands, gently mix the jerk mixture in with the ground beef in a large bowl until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Shape into patties, about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the diameter of your hamburger bun. Chill about 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook. (Remember to wear gloves while handling jerk seasoning or thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after handling.)

3 In a medium bowl, gently mix the cabbage, red onion, thyme, mayonnaise, citrus juice, zest, salt and pepper.

4 Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high direct heat. Place the patties on the clean, well-oiled grill grate. Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes per side. Do not press down on the burgers while cooking. If you don't have a grill, you can use a grill pan or a cast iron frying pan.

Serve burgers topped with coleslaw, with or without hamburger buns.

Makes 6 burgers.