main dishes

Slaw-ter Burgers

By 07/29/2020February 1st, 2024No Comments

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If looks could kill, we’d be slaw-tered by these gorgeous burgers. But looks aren’t everything, right? It’s what’s inside that matters, so I made sure that every bite packs a flavor punch that’ll make you see stars!  Speaking of stars, the star of the show is this stunning Red Cabbage and Onion Slaw! It’s so delicious! It’s sweet and sour, with surprising pops of fresh celery and mustard, and a bit of heat from red pepper flakes. Not to be upstaged by the slaw, the pitch-black buns ARE the stage in this culinary sideshow. They’re dark, dramatic, and add an element of mystery to this decadent dish.

The intense black color comes from the addition of charcoal powder. In the past, I used squid ink to color my dough and worried that it would add a fish taste because the dough had a faint briny odor while rising. But after baking, the bread had no fish taste or smell at all. In fact, the squid ink added a nice saltiness to the dough. It was delicious. So, just like using squid ink for the first time, I was a bit wary about using charcoal powder because I thought it would add a smoky or burnt taste to the dough. But as it turned out, it didn’t add any flavor at all.  So the moral of my story is…Don’t be afraid of the dark. Take a leap into the unknown and make these festive buns, pile on the hot pink slaw, slather on extra garlic mayo, add crazy looking cheese and elevate the humble cheeseburger to the killer status it deserves!

Slaw-ter Burgers

Homemade burgers made with dramatic charcoal buns and gorgeous hot pink slaw!
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Carnival Food
Keyword: carnevil, Halloween, Halloween Food, Halloween Ideas, Halloween Recipes
Servings: 12 burgers


Black Hamburger Buns

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp charcoal powder
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 pkg instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 egg white + 2 T water (egg wash)

Mystery Meat

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • cheese of choice (I used a port wine derby cheese from

Red Cabbage and Onion Slaw

  • 1/2 head purple cabbage
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

Garlic Mayo

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (for color)


Black Hamburger Buns

  • In a small saucepan, heat milk, water, and butter to 120 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix 2 cups flour, yeast, charcoal powder, sugar, and salt. Add the warm milk mixture to flour and then stir in the egg and mix until a sticky dough forms.
  • Stir in remaining flour, and mix until its pulled together into a shaggy dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. I used a kitchen scale to weigh out my dough in order to get the same sized buns. Roll into smooth balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently flatten a bit.
  • Cover hamburger buns and let rise for 30-35 minutes. Brush egg wash over tops of buns and sprinkle black sesame seeds.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

Mystery Meat

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well. Divide ground beef into 12 equal patties. Grill or pan fry until desired doneness. Top with Cheese.

Pickled Cabbage and Onion Slaw

  • Shred purple cabbage, red onion and red bell pepper in a food processor with shredder attachment.
  • Transfer shredded vegetables to a bowl. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard and celery seeds and mix well.
  • Transfer slaw into a 2 quart mason jar and place in the refrigerator and let sit overnight, turning upside down occasionally. Note: This can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Garlic Mayo

  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.


Serve with homemade potato chips using purple potatoes.
Link: Port Wine Derby Cheese from
This post contains an affiliate link. As an Amazon affiliate I earn commission for qualifying purchases. 

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