Posts Tagged by ground pork

Everything Pork Smash Burgers with Toasty Hoop Cheese

Published in Carolina Country Magazine May 2015

Smashburgers!  or Smash Burgers?  No matter which you way you prefer, they’re everywhere these days… but do you know what that actually means?  

My definition is a good old ground meat burger,  smashed somehow or other, and cooked so that you get a nice, uneven edge from “smashing” that has little nooks and crannies with crunchy little bits and pieces and a crusty bite to them.
The kind we love from our favorite hole-in-the-wall grills and diners!

Most smashburgers are made with ground beef.  But y’all know I don’t do “most.” That’s why I made these with good old NC ground pork!  If you can’t source from a local farmer, you can find ground pork in any grocery store… it’s what I use in my egg rolls too!  

When I was growing up, this is how mama made hamburgers, because she near’bout burnt everything she cooked… and our burgers were no exception. They were crunchy alright!  But actually real good.  Even if they were shriveled up little things… the steamed buns daddy insisted on (and me too to this day) made them tolerable while lost inside the bun.  They just didn’t have a “name” way back then. But now I know, she was cooking smashburgers!

For me, there are 5 things that make up a really great smashburger. The first three… the key to getting that crunch is the right fat ratio (at least 80/20 fat), making them not very big (3-4 ounces) so you can smash big and thin, and a very hot cooking surface… like a preheated cast iron skillet or griddle. 

These days, lots of folks have Blackstone griddles… found at varying price points here and there (self included), and I love that thing!  It’s perfect for making smashburgers and with this recipe, making the “toasty cheese” alongside them! You can cook these in a hot skillet indoors, but because of the high heat and grease, I highly recommend cooking your smashers outside.  If you don’t have a griddle, a cast iron skillet works great!

Number four… as for the cheese, you can use any kind of melty cheese, but I’m a big fan of hoop cheese! (Read about hoop cheese here at North Carolina’s Ashe County Cheese.)

I grew up with it. And it’s often seen… little slices wrapped in “cellophane” with saltine crackers by the register at country stores. Just right to grab for breakfast on the way to work, or a mid-morn or afternoon snack when taking a break from work on the farm.  Enough to “tide you over” till lunch or suppertime.

Mama, not being a cook, would sometimes melt hoop cheese in her cast iron skillet and throw some canned biscuits in the oven. Supper would be biscuits and cheese… spoonsful of the ooey gooey melted cheese over top of those split biscuits.  I can see that good stuff now… with that little golden orange ring of grease around the edge that cooked out of that melted cheese.

Last but certainly worth special attention… really good rolls are the crowning glory for your burgs.  You’ll want something that’s going to hold that luscious burger without it falling to pieces while you savor every crunchy bite!  My favorite are potato rolls, that only get better with the brushed-on butter and light grilling inside out, so you get a little soft with a little crisp too. 

As for toppings, offer up anything that suits your fancy. I like to keep those simple on my smashburgers, so not one bit of the crunchy goodness is lost. 

Memorial day is almost here… and a perfect time to fix a bunch of smashburgers and have a grand ole time with those you love! A Smash Bash… to celebrate and remember those who have served our nation to protect the land of the free… home of the brave!  

Fix some of my Smoky Okra Fries to enjoy alongside and Hummingbird Ice Cream Parfaits for dessert. 

Before you go, I hope you subscribe while here.

And… I invite you to come on over to my social media homes and like those too!
Wendy’s Home Economics on FB
culinaryadventurstwendy @ IG

Aunt Dee Dee’s Online Store
Aunt Dee Dee’s Kitchen on FB
auntdeedeeskitchen @ IG

Get your burg on y’all!

Everything Pork Smash Burgers with Toasty Hoop Cheese

When the burger craving comes upon us, nothing else will do. Smashburgers: those delectable little patties with a bit of crunch — the kind we seek out at our favorite hole-in-the-wall burger joints. I used NC ground pork for these, topped with hoop cheese.

Course: Fun Food!, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Gluten Free, Grilling, Keto Friendly, Kid-Friendly, Southern, Summer Food, Tailgating
Keyword: blackstone griddle, burger, cast iron cooking, hoop cheese, smash burger, smashburger
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground pork (at least 80/20 fat)
  • 2 tablespoons ‘everything bagel’ seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt (optional-due to saltiness in cheese)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil in bowl
  • Buns (potato or brioche)
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 pound wedge hoop cheese
Instructions
  1. Place griddle or large cast iron skillet on grate. Preheat grill (or griddle) to highest heat.

  2. Combine pork and seasonings and mix as little as possible. (The more you handle, the tougher the meat will be.)

  3. Divide into 12 balls. Roll in bowl of oil and place onto hot griddle or skillet. Do not move for at least 1 minute. Flip, then using the bottom of a mason jar, “smash” the burger to make it thin. Cook about 2 minutes, turn and cook the other side about the same to get a good sear. Stack in pan to the side to keep warm.

  4. For the buns, brush the insides with melted butter. Grill the buttered sides while the burgers cook. Place burgers onto “ungrilled” outsides of buns (buttered side out).

  5. Put mounds of hoop cheese into hot skillet or on griddle. As it melts, scoop a portion with spatula onto each burger and eat as is or add toppings.

Cooked any good Groundhog lately?

groundhog-pirate2

To celebrate the day, the lazy blogger is sharing this annual post originally from 2011!  However, that’s about to change and routine blogging is about to commence this week.  I’m ready  with all sorts of goodies for you and I hope you are too…

So, what exactly IS a groundhog?  As I researched to see exactly what they are, I learned that they are also ‘woodchucks’ (huh?) or ground beavers!  Oh great, that tells me a lot.  I’m not sure, but I don’t think we have this particular specie of hog in my vicinity here in central North Carolina.  We have hogs with snouts and hogs with tailpipes, but pretty sure no ‘ground’ hogs.  However, I’ve been known to be wrong so somebody correct if that be the case.  This is a really good pie.  I have made it, just was fresh out of ground hog, so I used ‘regular’ hog instead.  I hope you will give it a try… with good old NC Sweet Potatoes and some good local pork from wherever you are.

That whole shadow thing has always confused me…  as I already have brain overload and remembering this is not of vital importance so I never saw fit to ‘file’ this up there.  If he (or she?) sees a shadow, which is it?  More winter or less?  And best I remember, predictions of weeks of future weather offered up by a ground beaver is about as accurate as our local weather folks when they say those proverbial words… “we’re on the line and don’t think there will be significant accumulation,” only to wake up to a FOOT of snow!

So since groundhogs aren’t worth much when it comes to weather forecasting, I wondered if they may, perhaps, be edible.  Always one to explore new culinary adventures, a-googling I went!  Turns out, this hog is dark meat, similar to squirrel or rabbit.  Now I haven’t cooked either one of those lately either… so I dig deeper.  If you get yourself a hog that’s been hibernating, you are gonna need to remove the layer of fat that has piled up under the skin… and while in there, you’ll need to yank out their ‘stinky’ glands.  If your hog is a senior citizen, parboiling is going to be necessary before cook’n.  (Apparently inspecting the hog’s teeth will give clues as to age, but unless you’re a wildlife dentist, I’m not sure how to know this!).

So, since PIE is on top of all the 2011 trend Lists as ‘hot stuff’ this year, I salute thee, Pie… Groundhog Pie!  If you have a favorite Groundhog recipe, do tell… and share it!  And MY prediction… Sunny Skies ahead for all… whether you’re east, west, north or south of me… especially to my friends in the midst of Snowpocolypse this week… better y’all than me!

(still learning all the bells and whistles to the new recipe print feature… a few kinks to get worked out…stay tuned!)

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

TOPPING:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt

FILLING:

  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
    (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°.

TOPPING:

Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon  and salt.  Mix well; set aside.

PIE FILLING:

In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside.  Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn.  Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce.  Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture.  Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture.  Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges.  Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese.  Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

Servings: 4-6 depending on your eaters

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

What to throw together...

  • TOPPING:
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • FILLING:
  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
  • _ (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)_
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • TOPPING:
  • Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon and salt. Mix well; set aside.
  • PIE FILLING:
  • In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce. Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture. Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture. Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro! Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro!  Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

* Put corn juice into your freezer soup pot…more on that to come!