Southwestern Chorizo Pork Burgers
This recipe comes from a book called Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog, by Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth. Even though the recipes inside are for a "paleo" diet (i.e., one that limits carbohydrate intake and cuts grains entirely in favor of alternative starches such as roots and tubers), they are quite tasty. Even better, this book provides an excellent overview of pork cuts, the advantages of pastured pork, basic techniques like making lard and cracklings, and well-informed guidance on how to order a half and whole hogs.
This particular dish is easy, takes less than 30 minutes from prep to table (assuming your meat is already thawed, of course), and is highly adaptable. It makes a great little breakfast, especially served alongside home fries or on top of some thick-cooked grits (if you are eating grains and/or not limiting carbs). For lunch or dinner, you can serve it on lettuce as in the original recipe, on a bun, or on top of garlicky sautéed greens with some polenta or mashed potatoes on the side. The recipe makes 6 patties.
1 pound Flight Path Farm ground pork
1 pound Flight Path Farm bulk chorizo
6 free range pastured eggs (Flight Path Farm produced recommended)
2-4 T Lard (rendered from backfat from Flight Path Farms, duh; you can also use bacon fat that you have cleverly reserved from Flight Path Farms bacon)
Optional: grits, corn tortillas, bun, or sauteed greens upon which to serve said burgers
Optional: Avocado, guacamole, and/or salsa to top the burgers.
Gently mix the meats by hand in a large bowl, making sure not to overly knead or compress the meats. Gently form the meat mixture into into 6 patties, about 4 inches wide (make them a little wider than a beef patty, since they shrink a bit more with cooking). Try to keep the meat loose while maintaining their shape (don't smash them too hard into patties), since if they are too heavily compacted they will have a drier, coarser texture.
Cook the patties on a grill over high heat (or pan fry over medium high heat), about 10 minutes per side. Cook until patties reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (the safe temperature for cooking ground pork). At this point, the patties will be firm in the center but with a little give.
Meanwhile, heat 1T of lard or bacon fat in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Crack an egg into the pan and cover the pan with a lid. As soon as the white becomes fully opaque, remove the egg from the pan and set aside (for a fully runny yolk), or let it cook for another minute for a partially runny yolk (my personal preference, though Paul prefers a harder yolk like the egg in the picture above; you do you, boo). Keep cooking the eggs in this manner, adding more lard/bacon fat as necessary.
To assemble the burgers, place a base of lettuce (or sautéed greens, or grits, or tortillas, or buns, or whatever you like) on the plate, top with a pork patty, and place a fried egg on top. Add avocado, guacamole, or salsa if you like. (I personally don't think the burger needs the extra flavor or juiciness because of our kick-ass chorizo and the creaminess of the egg yolk, but a smoky-sweet pineapple chipotle salsas would be great on these and give a little tacos al pastor flavor to the whole enterprise.)