National Burger Month 05/09/2010: Bistek Tagalog

I hadn't really made a Filipino inspired burger yet. There were a couple of candidates like adobo pork, kare-kare, and even the crispy pata that I toyed with two years ago. In the end, bistek tagalog won out because of its simplicity and my desire to go back to the beef, after days of going all pork and veggie. I also wanted a good reason to use Filipino pan de sal for buns and this was a good reason.

Bistekburger is dedicate to Fabio who says that burgers are not burgers unless they are chuck ground, round ground, and charcoal grilled or fried.

It's really easy.
1/2 lb. chuck, ground
Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup hard soy sauce (preferably the Filipino kind)
Pepper, ground
1/2 onion, grated
1/2 onion, sliced into rings
Some canola oil

Pan de sal

Mix the grated onion in with the beef. Also season the beef with a little pepper.
Mix the lemon juice and soy sauce together for a marinade. Marinate the beef in this stuff. I would say about an hour, preferably more so that you can get the burger all soy saucy.

When it's coming on close to burger-time, fry the onion rings in a heavy skillet over some canola oil. While the onion fries, you can start forming patties with the beef. It will be wet and sloppy on account of the soy sauce. But this is fine. Just squeeze the soy sauce out so that the burger can have some integrity when you throw it on the pan. Who likes a burger without any integrity? I only trust upright, self-respecting burgers. Remove the onion slices and set them aside. Then toss the burger into the pan and fry, about 3-4 minutes each side (this takes a little longer than a non-marinated burger because the meat's all wet). When it's close to done, toss the remaining marinade in the pan and let it gurgle and splash for a little bit.

Serve over warm pan de sal and don't forget to top it with the reserved fried onion rings. Leslie made some Filipino-inspired salad, with mango, cucumber, onion and tomato. And it worked out pretty well with the burger.