Pork Burgers with Fennel au Poivre

Traditionally, au poivre refers to a steak that is studded with ground pepper. The addition of the fennel slightly softens the zing of the pepper. I love to serve these burgers with a bitter green salad filled with apples, which contrasts nicely with the pork and fennel.

Pork Burgers with Fennel au Poivre
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 burgers
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried fennel
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ to 1¾ pounds ground pork
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  1. Place the pepper, fennel, rosemary and salt on a large plate and mix well.
  2. Place the ground pork on a work surface and divide into 4 balls of equal size.
  3. Dredge in the pepper mixture and form each ball into a patty about ¾ to 1 inch thick, tossing it back and forth between your hands. To ensure more even cooking, make a ½-inch indentation with your thumb in the center of the burger. Handle the patties as little as possible; do not work more than necessary.
  4. Prepare the grill to medium-high. When the coals are glowing red, after 15-20 minutes, cover with the grate.
  5. After 5 minutes, use a wire brush to thoroughly clean the grate. Brush the grate with oil.
  6. When the coals are covered with pale gray ash and you can leave your hand 5 inches above the fire for 2 to 3 second, the coals are ready.
  7. Sprinkle both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper.
  8. Place the burgers on the grate and grill until well seared on both sides, about 5 minutes for medium rare or 6 minutes for medium.
  9. Transfer to buns or a serving platter and serve immediately, garnished with the lemon quarters.
  10. ALTERNATIVELY, place a cast iron skillet over high heat and when it is hot but not smoking add the burgers to the dry pan.
  11. Cook until well seared on both sides, 8 to10 minutes for medium rare or 10-12 minutes for medium.