A burger glazed with teriyaki sauce fulfills many cravings.
This winter I saw a lot of articles about the best indoor burger. I get it, that out of season craving for something meaty that was not braised.
When it’s too cold to grill, you can certainly pan-fry or broil a hamburger and serve it up as you would in July. But in winter, I want a different burger experience altogether, a departure.
You see, hamburgers have an alternate universe. The one we know best is a grilled patty on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, the works.
Knife and fork burgers
But another type of burger is served on a plate to eat with a fork. It is that old-fashioned diner classic called the Salisbury steak and the bifteck haché (hamburger steak) in France, both pan-fried and served with a gravy or sauce. In Japan, it is the wildly popular hambagu.
This is where I’d like to steer you the next time you have that craving.
This hamburger dimension is very much worth visiting and it is quite easy to get there. It involves miso and soy sauce and sake. Meet the teriyaki beef burger.
Homemade teriyaki sauce
The glaze is a balance of salty and sweet that I’m obliged to inform you may be addicting. Soy + sake + sugar is how you make teriyaki and it is so simple and rewarding in flavor you might wonder why bottled even exists.
If you’ve never tasted miso with beef, this is the chance to experience the alchemy from blending these two deeply savory proteins. The miso boosts all the cooked flavors of great-quality beef while adding its own mild sweet and sour nuances from fermentation.
Yes, we’re talking about uber-umami.
Making miso burgers
The making of the burger itself will remind you of meatloaf–onion, egg, breadcrumbs. But though the components are familiar the journey is not. Like buckling the seat belt on a roller coaster.
Save the grilling for summertime and enjoy this out-of-bounds experience cooking burgers indoors. I trust you’ll enjoy the ride.
I form smallish 3-ounce patties to serve with steamed rice and the simple Japanese cucumber salad called sunomono. This makes them ideal for others who strive to eat less meat.
Cooking the onions with the sake is a step I have skipped in the past, but it is so worth imbuing the onions with a little wine. So, take the time to cook and cool the onions before proceeding with the rest.
Simmer the sauce with the burgers to glaze them and cook it down until it is syrupy. It is the elixir that will make you want to lick your plate clean.
Glazed Teriyaki Burgers
A homemade teriyaki sauce plus miso in the mix makes these burgers stand out. This recipe is based on Soy-Glazed Beef Burger by Elizabeth Andoh from her cookbook Washoko: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen.
For the burgers:
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely minced
- 1 tablespoons sake
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef grassfed
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or gluten free breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beated pasture raised
- 2 teaspoons brown or red miso
- 1/8 teaspoon` sea salt
For the glaze:
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons hot water
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sake and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the onions to a small bowl and cool to room temperature. (I pop it in the freezer to speed up cooling time.)
Meanwhile, make the glaze by stirring the soy sauce, sugar, sake and water together in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, miso and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the cooled onions and mix using a rubber spatula or use your hands to knead the mixture thoroughly. Form patties in whatever size you prefer; it will make 4 large patties or 8-10 smaller slider-sized patties.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until the oil slides across the pan. Cook the patties for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare or 4 minutes for more well done.
Reduce the heat to low and pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan. Flip the patties to coat them and cook until the glaze is thick and glossy.