Pressed Cuban burgers, inspired by the famous and oh so delicious Cuban sandwich, are made with ground pork and beef and are topped with Manchego, dill pickles, and a crazy delicious Dijon aioli. You’ll wrap the burgers in foil and press them on a hot grill with a brick to toast the buns and melt the cheese. Delish!!

Pressed Cuban Burgers

Summer is officially here. OK well, unofficially, but guys…the AC has been on this week! 

Let’s not forget that it’s May in New England and if you’re a New Englander, you know what that means: tomorrow we’ll need the heat.

And the rain, oh all the rain! All the rain we’ve had! I know I should be complaining because of the massive droughts other parts of the country experience each year but it needs to just stop raining!

But in spite of the downpours that threaten to wash away my carrot seedlings, we’ve made these pressed Cuban burgers twice this week. In the rain, holding umbrellas over our heads as we huddle at the grill. 

These Cuban burgers are totally worth it.

Pressed Cuban Burgers

Years and years ago – like when we were living in our first house and before we moved two more times – we made a similar version of these burgers many, many, many times. 

It was one of those meals that I cooked and we loved (while I self-taught myself how to grill), even before I really got into cooking

I’m not sure if it’s the flavor of the cumin or the crispy, toasted bun, or the melty cheese, or the briny pickles that I’m more addicted to but these are without a doubt, some of our favorite burgers ever.

Pressed Cuban Burgers

The most recent time I made these pressed burgers, I added ground pork to the ground beef and eliminated the sliced ham, which I always felt got messy and slippery on the hot burgers. And I topped them with a softer Manchego (aged 3 months – that actually melts!) rather than the cheddar and/or Swiss we had been using. 

The pickles and Dijon aioli are a must if you want to keep to the traditional Cuban sandwich flavors but they are not an absolute. I ate these burgers for years without the pickles or mustard and only finally and recently came around to loving both. 

If you can’t grill or don’t have one, a grill pan or cast iron pan will work great indoors. We’ve even made them in the oven (well, cooked on the stove top and pressed in the oven on a sheet pan) when the deck was too snowed-in to get to the grill one night. 

So grab a few bricks, heavy rocks, or a heavy pan, and get to these pressing burgers this summer. And while you’re at it, fire up the oven to make these oven fries to go with your burger. I guarantee you will not be disappointed by this meal!

Pressed Cuban Burgers

Pressed Cuban Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Pressed Cuban burgers are inspired by the famous and oh so delicious Cuban sandwich. My Cuban burger is made with ground pork and beef and is topped with Manchego, dill pickles, and a crazy delicious Dijon aioli. The assembled burgers are then wrapped in foil and are pressed on a hot grill to toast the buns and melt the cheese. Burger lovers, recjoice!

Ingredients

For the burgers:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chile powder (or regular chili powder)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dijon aioli:

  • 2 ½ tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For burger assembly:

  • 4 burger buns
  • 4 oz Manchego cheese, shredded or sliced
  • Dill pickle sandwich slices (long, not rounds) or spears
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. To make the burgers: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Clean off a few bricks or flat rocks.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pork, beef, cumin, garlic powder, and chile powder together with a fork until everything is thoroughly distributed. Form 4 patties (they will be large but will shrink on the grill due to the fat in the pork) and set them on a large plate. Drizzle the tops with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; repeat on the other side. Turn one burner of the grill down to medium and grill the burgers on that side for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Be prepared for some smoke and flames, again due to the fat in the pork. Leave the grill on after you take the burgers off, returning the medium burner back to medium-high.
  3. To make the Dijon aioli: While the burgers cook, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble the burgers: Lay out 4 pieces of aluminum foil on the counter top. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the bottom of the buns in the center of each respective piece of foil. Divide the aioli between the buns. Place the burgers on the buns, top with cheese and pickles, then the tops of the buns. Lightly spray the tops of the buns with cooking spray and wrap up the burgers tightly with foil and press down on the tops a little.
  5. Return the burgers to the front edge of the grill and press the bricks or rocks down on top of the burgers. (You'll want the burgers set towards the front of the grill because that little top rack gets caught up in the bricks if the burgers are too far towards the back when you try to close lid.) Close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the burgers with tongs (easier than a spatula) halfway through - remove the bricks/rocks with pot holders as they will be hot!! Remove the burgers from the grill, unwrap, and serve hot.

Notes

If you don't have a grill or can't grill in your apartment, these burgers can be cooked on the stove top in a grill pan or cast iron pan and pressed in the pan or in the oven on a sheet pan.

inspired by Bobby Flay

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  • Prep Time: 15min
  • Cook Time: 12min
  • Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients

For the burgers:
1 lb ground pork
½ lb ground beef
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ancho chile powder (or regular chili powder)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dijon aioli:
2 ½ tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For burger assembly:
4 burger buns
4 oz Manchego cheese, shredded or sliced
Dill pickle sandwich slices (long, not rounds) or spears
Cooking spray

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the burgers:  Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  Clean off a few bricks or flat rocks.

  • 02

    In a large bowl, mix the pork, beef, cumin, garlic powder, and chile powder together with a fork until everything is thoroughly distributed.  Form 4 patties (they will be large but will shrink on the grill due to the fat in the pork) and set them on a large plate.  Drizzle the tops with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; repeat on the other side.  Turn one burner of the grill down to medium and grill the burgers on that side for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Be prepared for some smoke and flames, again due to the fat in the pork.  Leave the grill on after you take the burgers off, returning the medium burner back to medium-high.

  • 03

    To make the Dijon aioli:  While the burgers cook, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder, and vinegar together in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • 04

    To assemble the burgers: Lay out 4 pieces of aluminum foil on the counter top.  Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.  Place the bottom of the buns in the center of each respective piece of foil.  Divide the aioli between the buns.  Place the burgers on the buns, top with cheese and pickles, then the tops of the buns.  Lightly spray the tops of the buns with cooking spray and wrap up the burgers tightly with foil and press down on the tops a little.

  • 05

    Return the burgers to the front edge of the grill and press the bricks or rocks down on top of the burgers.  (You’ll want the burgers set towards the front of the grill because that little top rack gets caught up in the bricks if the burgers are too far towards the back when you try to close lid.)  Close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the burgers with tongs (easier than a spatula) halfway through – remove the bricks/rocks with pot holders as they will be hot!!  Remove the burgers from the grill, unwrap, and serve hot.

inspired by Bobby Flay