Jamaican Jerk Burger with Grilled Pineapple and Cabbage Salad

The quintessential American sandwich is the hamburger. That despite the fact that in nearly a decade of living here, I have yet to see a burger made with ham.  Anders and I have very little experience with making burgers but as the owners of this blog, and having adopted America as our home, we have to powerful reasons to address this deficiency. And what better day to do that than on the grilling day of the year – Fourth of July.  I know, I know – I am six months late in posting this entry.

Wendie's 4th of July Burger
Wendie's 4th of July Burger

For our Independence Day burger challenge Anders made a burger whose heft and inventiveness was equaled only by its incredible taste.  I opted for a less ambitious entry that merged my childhood homeland with my new one – Jerk Burger with Mayo-less coleslaw as a side.


  • 2 tbs jerk sauce (recipe below)
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 slice ripe, fresh pineapple (no the canned version will not do)
  • 2 tbs cilantro mayo (recipe below)
  • 1 ciabatta bun
  • ¼ cup cabbage salad (recipe below)

Season the ground beef with the jerk sauce and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The resting part can be bypassed if you are in a hurry but this is just the way we do it in Jamaica – not just for jerk anything but for all meats. You simply do not mess with tradition.

Heat grill to medium high. Form the seasoned mincemeat into something resembling a burger. Mine was done to match the bun size and ended up being about ¾ inches high.  Place burger on the grill and cook each side to your level of doneness. Grill time will depend on thickness and how much redness you like in your burger.

When the burger is finished, remove from heat and turn grill to high and grill pineapple for 1-2 minutes per side.

Burger Assembly

Spread the bottom half of the ciabatta bun with 1 tbs of the cilantro mayonnaise. Add the burger and the grilled pineapple and then the cabbage salad. Spread the 2nd tbs of cilantro mayo on the top half of the bun. Close the burger and enjoy.

Jerk Sauce/Paste

This is actually more of a paste than a sauce and the recipe was adapted from one of my favorite Jamaican cookbook authors: Enid DonaldsonThe Real Taste of Jamaica.

  • 2 teaspoons allspice (or grind dried pimento seeds to make your own)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups chopped scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cane vinegar

A word of caution – I would advise you to remove the seeds from the scotch bonnet pepper. I have a higher tolerance for heat than Anders and even then I only use about ¼ of the scotch bonnet seeds.  Of course, if you are feeling particularly brave then by all means, go ahead and use the entire peppers, seeds and all Just note that it is not for nothing that Scotch Bonnet pepper have been known to make grown men bawl. The Scoville Scale does not lie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale.

Grind all the ingredients in a food processor. Use what you need for the burger and store the rest a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. I would recommend using a glass or stainless steel container. The acid in the vinegar will react with other metals causing them to rust and, more importantly, ruining your jerk sauce!

Cilantro Mayo

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro

Mix ingredients together in a food processor. You’ll need only 2 tbs for this recipe but the rest can be stored in the refrigerator for some other use.

Cabbage Salad

  • 1 cup finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 tsp cane or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs raisins

Grate the carrots with the large side of a box grater. Mix all the ingredients together and place the coleslaw in the fridge. This salad is best made at least an hour before using.  This allows the flavors to come together nicely. Don’t make it too early though or the cabbage will become soggy.

Wendie's 4th of July Burger
Wendie's 4th of July Burger
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
The people have spoken
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

One thought on “Jamaican Jerk Burger with Grilled Pineapple and Cabbage Salad”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.