HAWAIʻI in the Kitchen: Journey’s Breakfast Burger

The trick to this popular breakfast burger? Butter and quality meat.
2021 Hitk Journey
The popular breakfast burger from Journey by HFC. Photo: Melissa Chang

If you’ve been to the FarmLovers Markets in Kakaʻako or Kailua on Oʻahu recently—and you really should—you may have noticed people chowing on a decadent egg-topped burger on charcoal brioche bun.

The breakfast burger is one of the most popular dishes sold by Journey by HFC (Hawaiʻi Food Collective)—and we got the recipe!

Some tips from Tony Markham: Use butter when you grill your buns, quality meats make a difference and always add an egg.

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Journey’s Breakfast Burger

(Recipe for one burger)


  • 1 brioche bun (Journey makes its own brioche bun and adds 1 T. of “coconut charcoal” to the dough to get that black color.)
  • 1 tbsp chile aioli (1 part your favorite hot sauce + 1 part mayo)
  • Bread and butter pickles (sweet and tangy)
  • Caramelized onion
  • Havarti cheese
  • 1⁄4 lb. local grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 local egg
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Skewer
  • Recommended equipment: cast iron pan/ large flat frying pan/ flat top grill


Get all of your ingredients together and set out. You don’t want to be searching for your cheese while your burgers are overcooking.

Once your aioli’s mixed and your onions are caramelized, get your pan hot (medium-high heat). Slice your bun, add some butter to your pan and give it a good toast. Make sure to toast both sides of your bun. Once your buns are nice, warm and golden-brown, take them out of the pan and crank the heat up a bit. You want your pan HOT. (If you’re not sure if it’s hot enough, wet your hand and flick some water onto it. If it sizzles, it’s ready.)

Take your quarter-pound beef patty and, using a sturdy spatula, smash that bad boy right into the pan. You want it flat-flat (1⁄4 inch). Hit it with some salt and pepper. Once the edges start to brown, roughly 60 seconds or so, flip your patty. Salt and pepper once again then place your Havarti cheese on the beef. Dress your bottom bun with a generous amount of caramelized onion. After about 30 seconds, take the patty from the pan and place it atop your bun. It’ll cook fast once you flip it; do not overcook it. Remove the pan from the heat, add a dollop of butter to it and crack the egg into the melted butter. Let the residual heat cook your egg (if you need to, maybe put it back on a low heat). Add the pickles to your burger, drizzle a bit of aioli and then top it with the egg. Crown it with the top bun and send a skewer through it to hold it together.

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