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Aloha, Burger!

Make waves of flavor at your next backyard cookout!

Life is short. Eat creative burgers. It does not take much to impress my family around the backyard grill. Most of my relatives believe cheese and ketchup is all that you need to dress a burger. The “foodies” in my family add pickles and onions to their half-pound beef behemoths. So, imagine their surprise when they recently saw grilled pineapple rings and bacon on my build-your-own platter.

It took some convincing, but those that followed my recommendation enjoyed a savory burger bursting with an unexpected sweet and salty flavor combination. The lesson here is that a burger is a blank canvas. Use it to try any flavor combinations you’ve appreciated in other dishes. Love Greek food? Top your patty with feta, goat cheese and cucumbers. Big fan of Italian? How about adding mozzarella, tomato and basil? And if those don’t work? Try again. There is a world of flavors out there.

Brian Bailey is co-founder of Smoke the Burger Joint, a 5-time winner of the National Hamburger Festival.

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Burger

Ingredients - 1.5lbs of 80/20 ground beef, divided into 4 patties - Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper - Pineapple Rings (4) - 1 Tsp Canola Oil - Havarti Cheese, 4 slices - Lettuce, Tomato & Onion slices - ¼ cup Mayonnaise - 1 Tbs Teriyaki Sauce - 4 slices of Bacon (optional) Instructions 1. Generously season patties with salt and pepper 2. Grill over medium-high heat, 4-5 mins per side 3. Add slice of cheese in the final minute 4. While burgers are cooking, brush pineapple slices with canola oil. 5. Cook over medium-high heat, 3-4 mins per side (2-3 mins if canned) 6. Mix Teriyaki Sauce with Mayonnaise 7. Place lettuce on bottom bun, then spread with teriyaki mayo. 8. Add tomato and onion slices 9. When burgers are finished, set atop onion. 10. Top with grilled pineapple and bacon, plus more teriyaki mayo.

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