Today’s Caribbean Pork Burgers with Pineapple Salsa is everything you dream of in a burger. Kissed by the smoke of the grill, both the burgers and salsa are a step above the norm. Filled with Caribbean flavors, you’ll swear you can hear the steel drums playing, filling the air with addicting calypso rhythms!
Have you ever visited the Caribbean? I was lucky to have the opportunity to take a cruise and experienced several different islands with their unique characteristics and histories. I think my favorite was St. Martin/St. Maarten, a fascinating island that is half French and half Dutch. Divided down the middle, they are completely separate countries and making a phone call from one side of the island to the other is an international call!
One of my favorite meals was in a tiny shack on the island of St. John. We sat on the patio and sampled some of the freshest and best fish I had ever eaten. It was the first time I had tasted the creative blending of herbs and spices so common in Caribbean cooking and I was smitten. I fell in love with the people, music, and foods of the islands and am still enchanted today.
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of influences including African, European, North and Latin American, Creole, Cajun, and Asian. Each nation brought their own styles of cooking and ingredients, layering those on top of existing traditions, creating a captivating explosion of flavors.
One of the most often replicated styles of island cooking is Jerk, a spicy highly-seasoned blend of ingredients that often include allspice, salt and pepper, habanero peppers, and thyme. You can easily find pre-made spice blends in most grocery stores these days or of course you can make your own. Jerk evolved as a natural way of preserving meats in the tropical heat.
Today’s recipe is a fun way to help recapture the flavors and slow pace of the Caribbean. I used a homemade jerk blend (from The Spruce Eats) to season the pork burgers and served them with a beautiful and tasty grilled pineapple salsa. I made my burgers with ground pork (not sausage), but you could use any ground meat you prefer such as beef, chicken, veal, or turkey.
During the hot summer days, this is perfect for keeping your kitchen cool because the entire meal can be made on your barbecue. Grilling the fruits and vegetables that go into the salsa adds a wonderful smokiness that complements the pork burgers.
You can also make the salsa with completely raw ingredients if you prefer. While mango is more common in the islands, pineapple was easier for me to find in my area. You can use either in this refreshing condiment.
I know that hamburgers and hot dogs are common fare for most cookouts, but give your guests an unusual choice and add these Caribbean Pork Burgers to your menu. I bet they’ll be the first ones snapped up!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Ingredients needed for Caribbean Pork Burgers with Pineapple Salsa:
- Salsa: pineapple, oil, bell pepper, cucumber, shallot, scallion
- Jalapeño, orange zest, ginger, cilantro, mint, allspice, lime juice
- Burgers: ground pork, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, thyme,
- Jerk seasoning (homemade or store-bought), cayenne
When cooking burgers, they tend to plump up and can become quite thick. On way to reduce this swelling is to press your thumb into the center of the raw patties. Don’t worry, there won’t be a depression when the burgers are cooked.
Placing a lettuce leaf on the bottom bun before adding the burger gives you a measure of protection. It helps keep the bun from falling apart from the drippings of the burger.
How to make Caribbean Pork Burgers with Pineapple Salsa:
- Salsa: Grill the oiled pineapple pieces then cook the bell pepper slices; chop the pineapple and bell pepper strips and combine them with the remaining salsa ingredients, tossing to combine, adding salt and pepper as needed
- Cover and refrigerate the salsa to let the flavors blend; return to room temperature, taste and adjust seasonings before serving
- Pork Burgers: Combine the pork, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, thyme, and jerk seasoning; blend and cook off a small piece to taste for seasonings, adjust as needed
- Pat into 3 patties, compressing just enough to hold them together and press your thumb in the center of each to make a depression; place on a parchment-covered plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes to help them hold together on the grill
- Cook on the hot grill until you have grill marks on the first side then flip and cook the second side until they reach 155°F in the center; transfer to a platter, tent with foil and set aside while you finish with the preparations
- Place a piece of lettuce on the bottom bun, top with a burger, and a spoonful of the salsa; top with the top bun and serve immediately
The best way to take the temperature of flat objects like hamburgers is to insert the thermometer in the side until the point is about in the center. You’ll get much more accurate results and be sure the food is safe to eat and cooked to the perfect temperature.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Gas grill or charcoal grill
- Grill basket (for fruits, vegetables, or small proteins)
- Grill spatula
- Instant read thermometer
You will obviously need to serve these with gluten-free buns. If you are serving both regular and gluten-free, you need to be especially careful. Keep all the buns in the kitchen in their original packages until you are ready to serve. Serve all the gluten-free burgers first so you don’t have any cross contamination. If you are grilling the buns, lay down a sheet of foil first and cook them on that, and be sure they are above any other bread products.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the product haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
- 2 cups (10 oz) pineapple cubes
- Organic olive oil
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, sliced thickly
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
- 1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 tsp very finely minced fresh jalapeno chile (or to taste)
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest (orange part only)
- 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger, or more to taste
- 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tbsp organic olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black, to taste
- Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
- 1 lb unseasoned ground pork (not sausage)
- 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 to 4 tsp jerk seasoning blend, to taste (store-bought or homemade; be sure it is gluten-free)
- Cayenne pepper, optional to add more heat
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Lettuce leaves
- Preheat grill to medium-high. If using charcoal, set up a medium-hot fire and pile the coals on one side of the grill.
- Make the Salsa: Brush the pineapple pieces lightly with the oil and carefully place in a grill basket on the hot grill. Cook until they develop grill marks, turning as needed to avoid burning. Use tongs to transfer them to a bowl as they are done. Add the bell pepper slices to the grill and lightly cook them just until slightly softened and smoky. Remove from the grill and add to pineapple pieces.
- Chop the pineapple and peppers and transfer to a medium glass bowl. Add remaining salsa ingredients, tossing to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors blend. Return to room temperature, taste and adjust seasonings again before serving. Can be made a day or two ahead.
- Make the Pork Burgers: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, thyme, and jerk seasoning. Start with a small amount of the jerk seasoning if your family prefers mild foods, you can always add more later. Use your hands to evenly distribute ingredients (wear gloves to protect your hands). Pinch off a small piece and cook it in a small skillet until cooked through. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed and add more jerk seasoning or cayenne pepper if you want your burgers spicier.
- Gently pat the pork into 3 patties, compressing them just enough to hold together and pressing your thumb in the center to create a slight depression. Place them on a parchment-covered plate and chill for 15 minutes. This will help them hold together on the grill.
- Use a spatula to carefully transfer the patties to the hot grill, adding more charcoal if needed. Cook without moving until you get grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the patties to the opposite side. Cook until the interior temperature reaches about 155°F, another 4 to 5 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.
- Transfer the patties to a clean platter, tent lightly with foil and set aside while you finish your preparations. The internal temperature will continue to rise as they rest, reabsorbing the liquid that has moved to the exterior of the burgers and coming to their final temperature above 160°F.
- For Serving: Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom half of each hamburger bun, add a burger and top with a dollop of the pineapple salsa. Replace the top half of the buns and serve immediately.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
You will obviously need to serve these with gluten-free buns. If you are serving both regular and gluten-free, you need to be especially careful. Keep all the buns in the kitchen in their original packages until you are ready to serve. Serve all the gluten-free burgers first so you don’t have any cross contamination.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the product hasn’t changed and is still safe to consume.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 703mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 41g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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