Spice Up Your Labor Day Grilling

By Annie Wu, Epoch Times
September 2, 2016 12:58 pm Last Updated: September 2, 2016 12:58 pm

Grilling doesn’t have to always use the same old seasoning. This Labor Day, spruce up your barbecue feast with a Vietnamese-inspired burger, featuring a patty of ground pork and ground beef, and some addictive, delicious Mexican grilled steak tacos.

Banh Mi Burger

Number Serves

2 to 3


For the Burger:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch pepper
  • 2 0r 3 white wheat buns
  • 9 sliced cucumbers
  • 3 sliced jalapeño peppers
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Cilantro and mint, for garnish

For the Pickled Carrots and Daikon: 

  • 1 pound daikon
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper


For the Burger: 

Add fish sauce, scallions, garlic, sugar, and pepper into a bowl and mix with ground beef and pork. Form 2 to 3 loose patties and let the meat marinate for up to four hours in the refrigerator.

Pre-heat the grill to high heat. Finish seasoning patties with a pinch of salt and pepper and place them on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until a nice char forms on the outside.

Take off the grill and let the patties rest for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the inside to continue cooking (without overcooking).

While the burgers are resting, toast the buns on the grill to get a nice char. Take buns off the grill and spread a layer of mayo onto both sides. Then, place your desired toppings (cucumbers, jalapeños, pickled carrots and daikon) on top of the patty and bun, leaving the mint and cilantro last so they don’t wilt.

For the Pickled Carrots and Daikon:

Shred the daikon and carrots.

In a medium saucepan, mix distilled white vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place the carrots in sterile containers. Cover with the vinegar solution. Let it sit overnight. Repeat the same steps for daikon.

Recipe courtesy of Stephan Brezinsky, chef and owner, Soothsayer Vietnamese

Salazar’s Grilled Steak Tacos

(Courtesy of Salazar)
(Courtesy of Salazar)


Makes 20 to 24 tacos


For the Guacamole:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

For the Salsa:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 6 jalapeños, depending on preference

For the Grilled Steak Tacos:

  • 3 to 4 pounds skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 20 to 24 flour tortillas


For the Guacamole:

Mince tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Set aside.

Open avocados. Peel and gut them.

Add the pulp into a bowl and mash it, then add the salt, pepper, and water, mixing to create an avocado paste. Then squeeze lemon into paste.

Add all the ingredients together and mix.

For the Salsa:

Roast tomatoes and jalapeños in a pan on high heat until char marks form on the outside. Flip each 2 to 3 times until evenly charred.

Put tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic cloves in blender and blend slowly on the pulse setting. Blend to preference.

For the Grilled Steak Tacos:

Combine pepper, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl.

Coat one side of each flank with seasoning mixture and lemons. Allow to marinate in fridge for 2 hours.

When ready to cook, place each flank over high heat on the grill for about 2 minutes. Then, flip to other side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Let it rest for a few minutes. Then dice and serve in taco with guacamole and salsa.

Recipe by Esdras Ochoa, chef, Salazar