These Japanese burgers, known as hamba¯gu in Japanese, are such a comforting, nostalgic meal for me. My mother would make them with a red wine and ketchup sauce that was especially delicious, as it soaked into the short-grain rice. Because my kitchen has no ventilation—it’s awkwardly placed in the middle of the apartment, the farthest point from all the windows—I particularly appreciate making patties in the oven on a sheet pan. I can make a big quantity (ten!) without setting off the fire alarm. The ketchup sauce is the best part and gets made right on the hot sheet pan as you scrape up bits and pieces and mix everything together. If you’re not in the mood for cabbage, you can also serve the burgers and rice with a different vegetable, such as blanched broccoli, our Simplest Arugula Salad (page 274), or even some sliced cucumbers sprinkled with a little salt and vinegar. ~Sanaë Lemoine


For the burgers

  • 1 pound (454 g) ground beef (80% lean/ 20% fat)

  • 6 ounces (170 g) ground pork (see Hot Tip!)

    WNK-HotSheet Book Cover Hot Sheet: Sweet and Savory Sheet Pan Recipes for Every Day and Celebrations Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine
  • 1 small yellow onion (7 oz/ 198 g), very finely chopped (see Hot Tip!)

  • 1/2 cup (30 g) panko bread crumbs

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed 

For the ketchup sauce

  • 1/3 cup (95 g) ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz/28 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the cabbage salad

  • 1/4 head green cabbage (about 10 oz/283 g)

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Short-Grain White Rice, for serving


Position a rack in the middle of the oven, set a half-sheet pan on it, and preheat to 425°F (220°C).

MAKE THE BURGERS: In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, onion, panko, milk, egg, salt, mustard, nutmeg, and several grinds of black pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until fully combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

Divide the burger mixture into 10 portions (about 3⅓ oz/95 g each) and shape into balls (yes, the patties are shaped like balls—Japanese burgers are thicker than American patties!). 

Use an oven mitt to remove the hot sheet from the oven and add the neutral oil. Tilt the sheet pan to distribute the oil. Place the patties on the sheet pan, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Gently press your thumb into the center of each patty to slightly indent. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the edges are sizzling and the tops are opaque. 

Using a thin metal spatula, flip the patties and roast for 6 to 8 minutes more, or until cooked through. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle should register 160°F/71°C and the juices should run clear.) If the burgers don’t look browned enough, turn on the broiler and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned.

MAKE THE KETCHUP SAUCE: While the burgers cook, in a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Add the pieces of butter and set aside. 

MAKE THE CABBAGE SALAD: Fill a large bowl with cold water. Re- move the core from the cabbage and thinly slice the leaves. Place the cabbage in the cold water and set aside to soak for 5 minutes. Drain the cabbage and dry in a salad spinner. (If you don’t have a salad spin- ner, drain in a fine-mesh sieve and pat dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels.) 

Dry the bowl from the cabbage. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and mus- tard, and stir to combine. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the cabbage and toss to coat with the dressing. Taste and season with salt.

When the burgers are cooked, immediately transfer them to a plate. Add the ketchup sauce to the hot sheet and return to the 425°F (220°C) oven or with the broiler turned on for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is completely melted and starts to foam.

Remove the pan from the oven. Using a silicone or wooden spatula, stir the sauce along the entire surface of the sheet pan, scraping up and mixing in any bits of meat until the sauce is smooth and combined. 

Spoon the sauce over the burgers and serve alongside the cabbage salad and rice. Leftover burgers can be refrigerated in an airtight con- tainer for up to 3 days. I like to slather each burger with some sauce before storing. Reheat the burgers (with the sauce) in the oven or microwave.

HOT TIPS! Since the onion goes into the burger mixture raw, I like to chop it as finely as possible to avoid any larger raw pieces. You could also use a food processor to finely chop it.

You can use all ground beef for the burgers, though I find the combination of beef and pork to yield the juiciest patties. 

From HOT SHEET by Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine. Copyright © 2024 Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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