Sweet and spicy Asian beef burgers? Spicy, sticky Asian beef burgers? Asian beef burgers with a sticky sauce? I basically considered all the possible permutations before settling on ‘Asian beef burgers’. This minimalism thing works for me in completely disjointed ways.
I have a confession. I don’t post recipes on here that I haven’t tried at least, at least three times. And that’s usually because even if I really end up liking a dish the first time around, I always feel like there might be room for improvement – maybe use more of something, less of something, use something else in its place, that’s usually how it goes. It’s not often that I make a dish that feels just right, let alone for something like a burger sauce that requires multiple attempts to achieve that balance. That being the case here, I’ve taken the liberty to make an exception.
The sauce, oh please let’s talk about the sauce. This could possibly be the Asian equivalent of the Barbecue sauce. It has the same sweet and sticky quality, but takes a slightly different route to get there: sweetness comes from hoisin sauce, ketchup and brown sugar and the salty, savouriness from soy and beef stock. Garlic and Sriracha provide heat.
The more traditional way of cooking this beef would be to slowly braise it in the sauce either in a really low oven or set on the lowest setting on the stove-top for a couple of hours until the meat is tender and falling apart. This is a great method and honestly, really low effort. You can bung in into the pot and forget about it until it’s done. But here’s the thing. I’ve tried both methods of cooking beef – slow-cooking in the oven/stove-top as well as pressure-cooking. And to be very honest with you, I don’t notice any difference at all. It all just comes down to whether the meat is cooked enough and falling apart, and if that requirement is met, you can choose your own adventure with the method you choose to achieve that result.
Specific cuts of beef are hard to find where I live, so this is just your regular cubed beef, only, try to get your butcher to throw some pieces in there that have a good amount of fat running through them. Since they are not going to be made into patties, and are also going to be coated in a sauce, it’s more forgiving where otherwise there’s the tendency for it to dry out. If you’re lucky enough to have access to buying specific cuts, any secondary cut of beef would work here.
ASIAN BEEF BURGERS
- 1 kg beef chopped into approx 2” pieces*
- 4 burger buns
- Shredded purple cabbage, to serve
- Cucumber slices, to serve
- 2 tsp oil, for browning
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup Sriracha (or any hot sauce)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock (or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cups of water)
- Add a little oil to a heavy-bottomed pot or pressure cooker and brown the beef in batches. Brown them on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. You want a good balance of heat, sourness, sweetness and saltiness.
- Add the beef pieces to a pressure cooker or pot. Pour the sauce and stir through. Cover and cook over a low-medium heat for 20-25 minutes in a pressure cooker or 1-1 ½ hours if using a regular pot (see notes). Test a piece – cook until it’s falling apart and tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
- Once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the meat pieces and shred them. I find this easiest to do with my fingers.
- Add the shredded pieces back to the pot and cook over a high heat to reduce the sauce to the right consistency. You want it sticky enough to coat the pieces but not too runny that it makes the buns soggy.
- To serve, halve the buns and toast the cut sides. Add a good amount of the beef, top with shredded cabbage and cucumber and serve immediately.