Jibarito Burger

Ironically enough, you won’t be able to find many jibaritos too easily back home in Puerto Rico (even though it originated in Aguada). The first time I actually had a jibarito was many years ago in Chicago, where the sandwich gained its popularity. My brother and I took a trip to visit my uncle who was living there at the time and were greeted with hugs, beers, a fully loaded CTA card, and a list of things to do.

Doing touristy things at the Taste of Chicago festival, 2007.

Doing touristy things at the Taste of Chicago festival, 2007.

The best part though? It just so happened that we were able to go to the Taste of Chicago festival while we were there. Aftering stuffing our faces with Chicago-style hot dogs, sampling various pierogies, and downing lots of beer, we stumbled across a kiosk with a huge Puerto Rican flag and bee-lined right over. And there it was: the jibarito sandwich.

If you’ve never had a jibarito, you need to make one instead of what you were planning on having for dinner to begin with. The sandwich is traditionally made with thinly-sliced marinated steak that’s quickly seared and then topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato all sandwiched between two huge fried plantains. Instead of using steak for this recipe, I decided on a burger since it’s a little more budget friendly and easily adjustable serving-wise. It’s so delicious, insanely ridiculous, and fun to make! Let’s go!

Jibarito Burger

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Burger patties:

1/2lb lean ground beef

1/2lb ground pork

1 tbsp dried minced onions

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

Plantain “buns”:

2 large green plantains, peeled and cut in half each

Frying oil

Burger toppings:

Cheese, your preference

Arugula mix, substituted for lettuce due to current food recalls

Tomato, thinly sliced

Mayoketcup (recipe can be found here)

Preheat the oven to 200ºF.

Over medium heat, preheat a pot or saucepan with enough oil to deep fry the plantains.

Next, preheat a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. In the meantime, add all of the burger ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well. To test out the seasoning, form a small patty and fry it up until done. Taste and adjust any seasoning until you’ve got it the way you like.

Once you’re ready to make the burgers, form them into large (mainly flattened) patties. They’re going to shrink a bit, so you want to make sure that they’re pretty flat so they don’t turn into large meatballs. I prefer my burgers medium to medium well, so I just sear them until they’re nice and crispy, about 4-5 minutes in each side, and then I keep them warm in the oven on a sheet pan until the plantains are done frying.

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While the burgers are staying warm in the oven, fry the plantain halves until they’re golden brown. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Then, flatten the plantain halves into very large tostones and fry them again to cook them through. A heavy plate with a flat bottom does the trick nicely. Once they’re all floating and are golden brown in color, they’re ready. Set aside and season with kosher salt while they’re still hot.

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Once the plantains are flattened and fried twice, assemble your burgers in between the plantain buns with the patties, cheese (can be added to the warm patties in the oven to melt before serving, whatever your preference), toppings of choice, and a nice spoonful of mayoketchup. And the silver lining about a making a jibarito? You don’t need fries with your burger because the plantain plays the same role of pairing starchy, carb-y goodness with a juicy, cheesy burger. Enjoy your jibarito burger with an ice-cold beer or soda.

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¡Buen provecho!