Everyone has a favorite burger recipe and the Freakin’ Rican is mine. I developed the recipe when I competed on Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef because it’s Puerto Rico in one juicy bite. The patty is made from 50% short rib, 25% sirloin and %25 pork shoulder, all coarsely ground. I season the patty with sazón, a Puerto Rican spice blend and then layer it with a chunky sofrito (flavorful tomato based sauce) and slices of creamy meunster cheese. Then come the smashed ripe plantains and strips of crispy thick cut bacon. I top those with tomato, onion, and arugula and sandwich all of it on a potato bun toasted with garlic butter and slathered with a spicy mayo-ketchup, a common dipping sauce on the island. The sweetness of the plantains, the crisp acidity from the lime bathed tomato, onion and arugula salad, the saltiness of the sofrito and the heat from the mayo-ketchup create so many levels of flavor and texture every other burger will seem boring in comparison. This recipe makes 8 burgers.
- large frying pan
- large mixing bowl
- deep fry thermometer
- sheet pan
- sheet pan rack
- 2 plates lined with paper towels
- grill pan or grill
For the sofrito topping:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup salt pork, fine dice
- 1 small yellow onion, fine dice (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup homemade simple sofrito (4 cubes) or Goya brand sofrito
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, fine dice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
- 1/2 cup spanish olives (the kind with pimento in them) chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
For the patties:
- 2 lbs ground beef & pork: 1 lb short rib, 1/2 lb sirloin, 1/2 lb pork shoulder
- 2 teaspoons homemade sazón, or 2 packets sazón Goya
- kosher salt to taste (I use 1 tablespoon)
- fresh ground black pepper to taste ( I use 1/2 tablespoon)
For the toppings:
- 4 ripe yellow plantains
- 1 1/2 cup corn or canola oil
- 8 slices of thick cut bacon
- 8 slices of meunster or mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 small yellow onion sliced into thin rounds
- 8 slices of beefsteak tomato
- 2 tablespoons of cilantros leaves
- 1/2 cup arugula
- pinch fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
For the buns:
- 4 Martin’s potato rolls or your fave burger buns
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
For the mayo-ketchup sauce:
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- Prep the ingredients for the sofrito making sure everything has a fine dice. It is easier to dice salt pork if it’s been in the freezer for ten or fifteen minutes, so do this before you chop your veggies and measure out the rest of your ingredients.
- Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the salt pork until the fat starts to render and it turns a light golden brown.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the sofrito, red bell pepper and salt to the pan and cook about 2 minutes.
- Add the crushed red pepper flakes to the pan along with the raisins, olives, capers, sherry and tomato sauce. Stir to combine.
- Cook sofrito until the peppers have softened and the raisins are plump. Take off the heat and place sofrito in a bowl.
For toppings and patties:
- Prep the plantains by first slicing each one into two pieces down the middle and then slicing each piece in half lengthwise. You’ll have 16 pieces total. Start a small fry pan with the corn oil over medium heat. Once the oil is at 350 degrees fry the sliced plantains in two batches until golden and cooked through, flipping once, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set the plantains on a plate lined with paper towels. Once the plantains have cooled, smash them with your hand to flatten them.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack on your sheet pan and top with the 8 slices of bacon. Bake until crispy (about 20 to 25 minutes). Let bacon cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Cut each slice in half.
- Sprinkle ground beef with sazón and then loosely shape 8 oz patties. Sprinkle the patties with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook burgers on a grill or cast iron grill pan to the desired temperature, flipping every few minutes until they reach the desired temperature. After your final flip, cover the top side with a slice of mozzarella cheese and let it melt. Let the burgers rest for at least 5 minutes before plating them.
- While the burgers rest, mix together the melted butter with the garlic salt. Brush the buns with the garlic butter and toast them.
- Make your mayo-ketchup sauce by mixing together the mayo, ketchup, and sriracha.
- Season the arugula, cilantro, onions and tomato slices with lime juice, salt and pepper.
- Build your Freakin Rican! Layer the bottom bun with the burger patty and top with 2 tablespoons of sofrito sauce, 2 slices of plantain, 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, onions, cilantro, and arugula. Spread the top bun with mayo ketchup and BUEN PROVECHO!