José Andrés’ Pepitos de Ibérico are in a league of their own! The world-renowned chef serves the flavorful Spanish hamburger sliders at Jaleo – one of his restaurant chains with five locations across the country, including an outpost in Las Vegas – but has rarely shared the recipe for these tasty morsels … until now.
Small but mighty, these scrumptious sliders each feature a mini burger made from the legendary, acorn-fed, black-footed ibérico pigs of Spain. The burgers are a 80/20 blend of Iberico hanger steak and fatback (the fat from the back of a pig) served on a brioche bun.
As if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, the mouthwatering meat is then topped with a homemade alioli – a Mediterranean sauce made of garlic and olive oil – piquillo and piparra peppers and slow-cooked caramelized onions, which add just enough sweetness to the dish.
Though these sliders require some time and effort to make, they’re perfect if you’re looking to impress your guests at an end-of-summer soiree. Scroll down for the recipe.
Pepito de Ibérico
Makes 12 mini burgers
For the patties:
• 1/2 Ibérico skirt steak
• 5 oz pork shoulder
• 3 oz Ibérico fatback
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 12 slider rolls
• 6 piquillo peppers, halved
• 3 piparra peppers, cut in quarters
For the caramelized onions:
• 1 large Spanish onion, julienned
• 1/4 cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tsp salt
For the alioli:
• 1 egg
• 1 cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• Kosher salt, to taste
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- Start by making the patties. Cut the skirt steak, pork shoulder and the fatback into 1/2-inch cubes and mix with salt and pepper.
- Spread the cubes on a sheet tray and freeze for at least an hour. After an hour, grind the meat in a meat grinder with a coarse die, making sure to let the ground meat fall loosely onto a tray or plate – try to handle the meat as minimally as possible.
- Divide it into 12 patties, about 1.25 ounces each, without pressing them too much.
- Chill the patties until you’re ready to cook them.
- Next, make the caramelized onions. In a large sauté pan, add the onions, oil, bay leaf and salt. Cook on low heat until the onions are very soft and golden brown. Depending on your pan and stove, this may take up to 45 minutes. Stir regularly.
- Once they’re cooked, drain the onions. Set aside.
- To make the alioli, crack the egg into a tall container. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic and the lemon juice.
- Using an immersion blender, blend it all until the garlic is fully pureed. Little by little, add the rest of the olive oil as you continue to blend. If the mixture ever looks too thick, add a little water to thin it.
- Continue adding the oil and blending until the alioli is rich and creamy. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
- Over medium-high heat, cook the patties in a cast-iron skillet or grill pan to medium, about 4-6 minutes per side.
- While the burgers are cooking, toast the buns briefly in a toaster oven or under a broiler.
- To assemble the burgers, put half a piquillo pepper on the bottom of the bun and spread some aioli on the top half of the bun.
- Place a quarter of a piparra pepper on each burger, then add the top of the bun and secure it with a long toothpick.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
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