Big Kahuna Burger

The Pulp Fiction Burger

Big Kahuna Burger

What Is Big Kahuna Burger?

The “Big Kahuna Burger” is a fictional fast-food burger chain that has been referenced in several films by Quentin Tarantino. It’s one of the many intertextual references that tie his movies together, suggesting they exist within the same universe.


The most notable appearance of the Big Kahuna Burger is in “Pulp Fiction” (1994). In a memorable scene, Jules Winnfield (played by Samuel L. Jackson) takes a bite out of someone else’s Big Kahuna Burger and comments on how tasty it is, just before delving into a tense confrontation.

Ingredients For Big Kahuna Burger


Butter Lettuce

1 Sweet Onion

1-2 Tomatoes

1 Pineapple


2-4 Slices of Cheddar Cheese


1/2 Cup Mayonaise

4 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce

1 Tbsp Honey

2 Hamburger Buns


1 Pound Ground Beef


1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tsp Onion Powder

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

How To Make Big Kahuna Burger

Step 1

Make Patties




Start by seasoning the ground beef, which if I’m not using a premade seasoning blend like Weber, I like to use a mix of:


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


Seasoning ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder is an exemplary choice for hamburgers. Salt, as a fundamental flavor enhancer, intensifies the inherent flavors of the beef, making it more savory and appetizing. Meanwhile, the gentle heat from pepper adds a layer of depth to the burger’s taste, ensuring complexity without overshadowing the meat’s natural beefiness.


Garlic powder introduces a rich, aromatic note, with its role as a cherished accompaniment to meats in many cuisines. Onion powder, on the other hand, imparts a touch of sweetness and an additional savory layer. The natural affinity between onions and beef, whether fresh or in powder form, stands as testament to this pairing. When combined, these seasonings encompass a spectrum of taste profiles, from salty and spicy to sweet and umami, enhancing the burger’s overall flavor while letting the core beefy taste shine through.





When making burgers, the approach to seasoning and handling ground beef can vary, and each method distinctly impacts the final taste, texture, and cooking experience. If you choose to season the beef directly and mix it before forming the patties, you’ll achieve a uniform flavor distribution throughout the burger. This ensures every bite has consistent seasoning.


However, there’s a risk to this method: overmixing can lead to a denser, possibly tougher burger because of the way the protein strands in the meat bond together. Additionally, these well-mixed patties might be more cohesive during cooking due to the integrated seasonings.


On the other hand, if you form the patties first and then season only the outsides, you create a flavorful crust when the burger is seared, while the inside remains more true to the natural beef flavor. This method can result in a juicier, tender texture since the beef’s protein structure is less disturbed. Although these patties might be slightly more fragile when cooked, they benefit from the immediate seasoned crust formed upon searing.


The choice is yours.





Using your hands, gently shape each portion of beef into a flat, round patty. The key is to handle the meat as little as possible to avoid overworking it, which can result in denser, tougher burgers. Lightly press the center of each patty with your thumb to create a slight indentation; this helps the burger cook evenly and prevents it from puffing up in the center during cooking.


Given that this is my version of the Big Kahuna Burger, I’ve chosen to shape two half-pound patties. Let the burgers refrigerate while you continue prepping, which will allow the  the seasoning to penetrate the meat, enhancing its overall taste. Cold patties maintain their shape better, especially on the grill, and the contrast between the cold meat and a hot cooking surface ensures a flavorful sear.


Additionally, the solidified fat in chilled patties melts slower, keeping the burger juicy during cooking. Beyond flavor and texture, refrigeration ensures the meat remains at a safe temperature, mitigating the risk of bacterial growth. In short, pre-cooking refrigeration optimizes both taste and safety when preparing burgers.

Step 2

Make Aioli 




A quality burger often features a standout sauce or aioli to elevate its flavors. Since this Big Kahuna Burger is inspired by a Hawaiian Burger, we’re going to make a teriyaki aioli to take this burger to the next level.


In order to make a teriyaki aioli, combine:


  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 2 tsp teriyaki (I went with Veri Veri)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper







Whisk until smooth and let it refrigerate while you continue prepping.

Step 3

Prep Produce & Grill Patties



My go-to burger toppings are caramelized onions, lettuce, and tomato. Yet, in the spirit of the Big Kahuna Burger, it’s essential to infuse some Hawaiian flair. Grilling a slice of pineapple is a simple yet perfect addition to capture that island essence.






In a small skillet on medium-low heat, adda generous amount of butter or oil. Once the butter has melted or the oil is shimmering, add the sliced onions, ensuring they spread out evenly in the pan. Cook the slowly, allowing their natural sugars to break down without burning. Stir the onions occasionally to prevent sticking, and if they start to dry out or catch at the bottom, you can deglaze the pan with a splash of water, broth, or wine.




Once the grill is ready, place the patties on the grates, ensuring they’re not overcrowded, which can hinder even cooking. Allow the burgers to sear undisturbed for about 3-5 minutes, or until they release easily from the grill and have defined grill marks. Flip the burgers and cook them on the other side for an additional 3-5 minutes for medium-rare, adjusting the time based on your desired level of doneness. Resist the temptation to press down on the patties with a spatula, as this can release their juices and result in a drier burger.


To enhance the burger with the teriyaki flavor, brush both sides of the patty with teriyaki sauce while it’s on the grill.





Lastly, place the cheddar cheese on the burgers to let it properly melt. Set aside so you can quickly grill the pineapple and buns.





Grilling pineapple introduces a transformative experience for the fruit, amplifying its flavor and altering its texture in delightful ways. When grilled, the fruit’s natural sugars caramelize, leading to a richer, sweeter taste complemented by toasted, smoky undertones. Beyond the enhanced sweetness, the pineapple’s texture becomes tender yet maintains a satisfying bite, striking a perfect balance.



This smoky and sweet combination makes the grilled pineapple versatile in its culinary applications. It pairs harmoniously with savory dishes like burgers or grilled meats, and equally shines in desserts, whether served with a honey drizzle or a sprinkle of cinnamon. In essence, grilling not only elevates the pineapple’s taste profile but also broadens its gastronomic appeal.





Toasting buns on a grill offers a multi-dimensional enhancement to the overall burger or sandwich experience. When buns are grilled, they undergo a slight transformation that affects both their flavor and texture. Firstly, the direct heat from the grill caramelizes the surface sugars on the buns, imparting a subtle sweetness and a richer flavor profile. This caramelization also results in a delightful crispy texture on the outside, providing a contrast to the soft inner crumb of the bun.


A toasted bun is also more resilient, better holding up to juicy fillings or toppings without becoming soggy or falling apart. This means each bite remains structured and the flavors meld without any textural compromise. Additionally, the gentle smokiness from the grill infuses the bun with a nuanced charred flavor, adding another layer to the dish’s taste. 

Step 4





Begin building your big kahuna burger by placing your buns on a plate. Although this is largely influenced by a Hawaiian burger featuring King’s Hawaiian hamburger buns, I opted for my regular choice, which is Ball Park.






Spread about 2 teaspoons of sauce on each bun to guarantee a uniform blend of taste, texture, and temperature in every bite. Place the grilled patty on the bottom bun.






Begin by layering your toppings on the patty. First place the grilled pineapple, and then pile on a liberal amount of caramelized onions. The sweet notes of the pineapple paired with the tangy onions create an outstanding blend that naturally complements each other when stacked together.





Finally, garnish with your preferred tomato and lettuce. While these toppings might not be everyone’s favorite, I believe the umami from the tomatoes combined with the crisp texture of the lettuce is crucial for an exceptional burger.


I recently found out that butter lettuce is an excellent lettuce option for burgers. Who knew?


Butter lettuce, also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce, is an excellent choice for burgers for several reasons. First and foremost, its tender leaves have a subtly sweet flavor and a smooth texture that doesn’t overpower the taste of the burger but rather complements it. This ensures that each bite has a harmonious blend of the meat’s savoriness and the lettuce’s freshness.


Additionally, butter lettuce has pliable leaves which easily mold to the shape of the burger, providing a consistent layer of crunch without falling apart or sticking out in awkward angles. Its vibrant green color also adds aesthetic appeal, making the burger not only taste good but also look appetizing.

Step 5

Enjoy Your Big Kahuna Burger!


Big Kahuna Burger


If you want to guarantee a saucy bite every time, spread a little extra on the lettuce. Then, place the top bun to finalize your burger assembly.



Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction


The Big Kahuna Burger


The Big Kahuna Burger GIF