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South Beach Cubano Burger

When I moved to Miami, I found I absolutely loved Cuban sandwiches. It turns out that Cuban sandwiches actually were invented and became popular in Florida which makes them a homegrown invention of sorts. Well, I wanted to do my take on the great Cuban sandwich and throw in some of my own Miami flourishes. The burger is ground pork with some Cuban seasoning thrown in, and then I add a delicious South Beach Black Bean Spread (which has got some pickles, garlic, rum and lime juice in it). Top the burger with baby Swiss & Manchego cheeses, grilled tomatoes, and plantain chips, and put it all on Cuban bread and you have yourself a great burger. But, I then go ahead and simulate a panini press using two skillets on the grill to make it a REALLY great burger. I’ve really attempted to capture the Miami lifestyle in my burger. The flavors pop out at you and it just tastes so darn fresh and tropical you won’t be able to resist!!


South Beach Black Bean Spread:
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained
6 bread and butter pickles, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Grilled Tomatoes:
6 large 1/2-inch thick slices tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano leaves (preferably Mexican oregano)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 bun-sized pieces Cuban bread, split
6 thin slices baby Swiss cheese
3 ounces Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
2 cups packaged plantain chips, lightly broken


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make South Beach Black Bean Spread, in the bowl of a food processor combine black beans, pickles, garlic, rum, lime juice, and mayonnaise; process until well combined. Refrigerate until serving.

To make Grilled Tomatoes, brush tomato with oil. Place on grill for 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill.

To make the patties, combine the pork, chicken stock, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the burgers with a slice of Swiss and equal Manchego cheese and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

Heat 2 large fireproof skillets on the grill over medium-high heat. To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of South Beach Black Bean Spread on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place an equal amount of plantain chips, a patty with cheese on top, and a slice of tomato. Add the bun tops. Place 3 of the burgers in one of the skillets and use the back of the other skillet to press down on the 3 burgers (to simulate a panini press). Press down for 1 to 1 and half minutes. Remove the burgers and repeat with the remaining 3 burgers. Serve.

Makes 6 burgers.