By Chef-Owners at Charcut John Jackson & Connie DeSousa
In our early days at Charcut, we launched the “Share Burger,” made with Alberta heritage pork shoulder, ground daily, mixed with our own sausage spice blend, topped with fresh cheese curds and fried eggs, and served on a rich and eggy brioche bun.
We sold it by the ounce, and demand was fierce. One night, as a treat for our Twitter followers, we decided to grill up as many patties as we could fit on our grill at the end of service, and serve them out the back alley door. One tweet later, Alley Burger was born. Almost immediately, it became a social media and YouTube sensation, and every night we had line ups of hungry back alley hopefuls waiting to get their hands on the last late-night burger. So we decided to hit the streets with the Alley Burger truck—one of Calgary’s first food trucks, and an incredible success. Next, we took the Alley Burger back to its alley roots and launched a walkthrough window in the Simmons building in East Village, home to our new venture— Charbar. The Alley Burger continues to thrive. As you’ll see, it’s easy to prepare at home. But note: It’s best enjoyed in the lowly lit, urban back alley.
– Connie DeSousa & John Jackson
- 450 g (1 lb) ground pork shoulder
- 1 bulb garlic, roasted, cooled and squeezed*
- 2 tsp white wine
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch ground coriander
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 1 pinch cracked black pepper
- 1 pinch ground mace
- 4 buns
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 mL (about 2 cups) cheese curds
- Pickles (optional)
Piri Piri Aioli:
- 60 mL (¼ cup) aioli (or mayonnaise)
- 1 tbsp piri piri sauce
Pre-heat grill to medium-high. Chill the bowl and paddle of a stand mixer in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Add the pork to the bowl with the roasted garlic paste, spices, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed with hook attachment until spices are incorporated. Turn mixer speed to medium-high and add the white wine. Mix until the meat becomes tacky and sticks to the sides of the bowl—about two minutes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide mixture into four equal balls and form each ball into a patty about 1 cm thick. Space patties out on cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator. Cut the buns in half and lightly butter both cut sides of each bun. Drizzle chilled burger patties lightly with olive oil, rub to coat, and place on the grill. Cook for about four minutes, then flip. The burgers are ready when the internal temperature reaches 68°C (155° F)—or when the juices run clear. Move the burgers to a cooler part of the grill and top with the cheese curds. Place the buns on the grill cut side down for about 30 seconds. Remove buns to a platter and close grill lid (to help cheese curds melt). Spread piripiri aioli on the bottom half of each burger bun. Place a burger patty on top, finish with pickles (optional) and the top half of the bun.
*To roast garlic, pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut off top of garlic bulb to expose the cloves inside. Place roots down on a piece of aluminium foil, drizzle with olive oil, and seal foil package. Roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and squeeze out roasted garlic paste.