Hawaiian Crush Burgers, For Two!

This is my definition of a happy burger.

It’s bright, fresh, and insanely full of flavor. And with the words “hawaiian crush” thrown in, how could you NOT crack a smile?!

Tropical eats are the happiest.

Burgers aren’t apart of my regular eating routine, but when I make them, I go big. Lots of toppings, funky sauces, grilled buns — The works. So seeing as grilling season/MDW is just. around. the corner!! I decided to whip us up a burger — for two! — because that’s what we do here.

One thing I’m adamantly against is the use of chicken or turkey burgers. They’re flavorful-less, have the texture of cardboard, and overall just kind of suck. So when there’s extra lean ground beef in this world — grass-fed, 96%/4%, THE GOOD STUFF — why would you ever suffer through burger blandness? So suck up the extra calories (just 30!) and smidge of fat (a measly 2.5g) and enjoy a real, juicy, delicious American burger.

You need the iron, anyway.

Buying the correct meat is the most complicated part of this recipe, so suffice it to say this is pretty much a breeze. I envisioned this burger as a sort of hawaiian pizza x hawaiian slider hybrid, so pineapple rings, red onion, swiss cheese, red bell pepper, and lean deli ham are the toppings. You start by fashioning a simple barbecue sauce made of your favorite bbq brand + a heavy splash of fresh pineapple juice. It sounds silly, but that little touch of pineapple adds LOADS of tropical flavor, it’s a fun, easy enhancement. My trick is to buy fresh pineapple rings — or canned ones in their own juices — and then use the pineapple juice from there! It’s an easy twofer that saves time and money, so definitely follow my lead.

Next form your patties with salt, pepper, garlic, and a touch of the pineapple bbq sauce, then head to the grill. I preheated my grill with medium heat over half the grates, medium-high on the other. Lightly char the veggies + pineapple + burger buns over the medium heat, then grill the burgers over medium-high. In barely 10 minutes everything will be prepped and ready for inhaling.

Obviously a burger like this hits ALL the sweet and savory notes (so good), but it’s oddly refreshing, too. The pineapple caramelizes delightfully on the grill, while the onion maintains just enough crunch to keep things interesting. The deli ham slices get super salty once grilled — it tastes INSANE against the burger — and drowning this in sauce only adds to its tropical appeal.

For what it’s worth this is a totally sloppy burger, so avoid eating it with a white shirt. But if your burger isn’t a hot mess of outrageous deliciousness, what’s even the point?!

It’s exactly how I feel about Saturday nights.

Hawaiian Crush Burgers


  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 3 tbsps fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 lb extra-lean ground beef (I used 96%/4%)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
  • 2 tbsps bbq sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 pineapple rings
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 – 4 slices deli ham (I used Boar’s Head)
  • 2 burger buns
  • 2 slices swiss cheese


  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium heat on one side, medium-high heat on the other.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the bbq sauce ingredients, whisking well.
  3. In another mixing bowl combine the extra lean ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic, and 2 tbsps bbq sauce. Form into two equal patties.
  4. Over the medium heated grill grates grill the bell pepper, pineapple rings, red onion, and ham for 5 – 8 minutes, turning as needed. Add the burger buns to this side of the grill for the last 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, on the medium-high heated grates grill the burgers for 3 – 4 minutes on either side until just firm to the touch, turning once. Top each with a slice of swiss cheese for the last minute.
  6. When ready, build your burgers with the ham slices, burger, onion, bell pepper, pineapple rings, and loads of sauce! Dig in.