Labor Day Recipe: Frita Cubana Burger

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, so what better way to bid the season adieu than by treating your friends and family to the ultimate burger and firing up the grill one last time before the fall chill sets in?

Here, Julian Medina, consulting chef and owner of New York City’s Coppelia, shares his recipe for a beef patty loaded with pork, cheese and chimichurri mayo. Warning: You may need to keep a hammock nearby to take a nap after conquering one of these giant burgers.

Frita Cubana Burger

Serve this ground beef patty with roasted pork, chicharron and chimichurri mayo to your favorite friends and family and they will be so sad that the grilling season is coming to an end!


For the Ground Beef Patty:

1 lb.                 Ground beef sirloin

½ lb.               Ground beef short ribs

1/4 lb.                        Ground skirt steak

Kosher salt 

For the Roasted Pork:

One, 2 lb.        Fresh ham

5                      Garlic cloves

5                      Sprigs of thyme

1                      Spanish onion, quartered

1/2 quart       Orange juice

1/2 quart       Lime juice

1 quart           Water

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

For the Chimichurri Mayo:

1 cup              Fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup          Fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup          Red onion, chopped

1 t                   Garlic, minced

1/4 cup          Sherry vinegar

1/2 cup          Olive oil

1 T                  Sambal

1 cup              Mayonnaise

Kosher salt


4                      Potato hamburger buns

4                      Slices Swiss cheese

1                      Tomato, sliced

1/2                 Spanish onion, sliced

1/2 cup          Pickles, sliced

4                      Boston lettuce leaves


For the Ground Beef Patty:

1.  In a medium bowl combine the ground meats and mix together well.  Form with hands four 6-ounce patties and set aside.

For the Roasted Pork:

1.  Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. In a large roasting pan place the ham with the remaining ingredients; cover the ham with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 hours. After the 3 hours, remove and place in the preheated oven still covered; let cook for 3 hours, or until tender. Remove from oven when ready, let meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes. 

3. After resting, remove the ham from the roasted pan and set on a carving board. First remove the skin and set aside to use for the chicharron. Then shred the ham's meat from the bone. Place shredded meat in a dutch oven on low heat, then pour the braising liquid into the pot with the meat; check seasoning.

For the Chicharron:

1. Pour two cups of vegetable oil into a skillet over high heat, 300˚F. Add the pork skins and let fry until crisp. Remove from skillet when done and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

For the Chimichurri Mayo:

1. Combine all ingredients, except the mayonnaise, and stir well.  Then slowly whisk in the mayonnaise until well incorporated in the sauce.

To Assemble and Serve:

1. Prepare grill with charcoal to a temperature of 350˚F.

2. Season the beef patties with Kosher salt then place on the grill to cook. Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, then flip the patties; for medium rare cook for 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove from grill and set aside on a sheet pan.

3. Place per patty a generous portion of the pork then top each with a slice of swiss cheese, return patties to the grill for 30 seconds to allow cheese to melt.  Also, place the hamburger buns on the grill for about 30 seconds to warm.

4. Place 1 hamburger bun open faced per plate. Drizzle the Chimichurri mayo on the bottom bun, then place the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. Finally place the pork-stacked beef patty, top with cheese and chicharron, and lastly, add top bun.   

Serves 4