Ingredients in a Lamb Burger:
- One pound of meat will yield 3 burger patties, so plan, or double accordingly.
- Use 3/4 teaspoon salt per pound of ground meat. The KEY to a good burger, is salt so be sure to measure.
- Use damp hands to form patties, and then indent the middles slightly so the middle of the patty is slightly thinner than the edges.
Make the Harissa Aioli:
But if you have the time, I highly encourage you to make a batch of homemade harissa paste, a wonderful and incredibly versatile North African condiment, that can be used in a myriad of ways, in the kitchen. The base of the paste is made with dried chilies. Below is my favorite recipe.
Harissa paste will keep for months in the fridge if covered with a layer of oil. The oil acts as a barrier keeping it fresh, and as the harissa paste ages, it tastes better and better, flavors melding, harmonizing and becoming more complex. So give it a whirl sometime! It’s something I always try to have on hand, because with it, I can do so many things, easily and quickly.
You can use harissa paste to rub on meats and poultry before grilling, make a vinaigrette out of it, serve it with eggs, stir it into soups or sauces for added depth, or even in yogurt, sour cream, or hummus for a flavorful dip.
How to use leftover Harissa Aioli:
Harissa aioli is great with crab cakes, seared scallops or with sweet potato fries. Use it any way you would hot sauce, imparting a deep flavorful smokey heat to anything you are cooking. The best thing about it is –it keeps for weeks in the fridge!
Make the Pickled Red Onions:
I always like something pickled on a burger- whether it is jarred cucumber pickles or these pickled onions– both will do the trick for cutting the richness of the burger.
These Quick Pickled Red Onions, can be made in literally 5 minutes- put them in the fridge to cool while preparing the rest. You’ll find many uses for them during the week, I promise!
Prep the lamb burger fixings:
Slice the melty cheese. In this recipe, I used Mahon, a semi-soft melty cheese, which can easily be substituted with cheddar, provolone, or jack.
Slice tomatoes if you liked them, prep lettuce or anything else you like on a lamb burger.
Grill the lamb burgers:
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Grease the grill well.
- Grill your lamb burgers 4-5 minutes on each side, closing the lid, using a thin metal spatula to turn. Add cheese during the last minute or two of cooking to melt it. Grill your buns now too.
- Cook lamb burger to the desired done-ness. Use a thermometer: 135F for medium-rare, 145F for medium, 155F for well done.
Assemble the Lamb Burgers!
To the bun, add a generous layer of Harissa aioli, the burger with melted cheese, more aioli if you like, pickled onions, tomato if you like, arugula, and bun top (lathered with more aioli). That’s it!!
Other recipes you may like:
- 1 lb organic ground lamb ( or beef, or combo) – makes 3 burgers
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ C very finely diced onion, shallot or scallion
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Harissa Aioli Recipe:
- ½ cup mayo
- 1–2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade harissa paste (or use dry spices: 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chipotle powder or chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, pinch salt and pepper)
- If making the harissa paste from scratch, do this first or make ahead.
- Make the Harissa Aioli- whisking mayo with harissa paste, or spices in a small bowl, set aside.
- Make quick pickled red onions and refrigerate them.
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Make the burgers: In a medium bowl, using your hands, combine ground lamb with onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, just to combine, being careful to not over mix. Form patties and set aside.
- Crisp bacon slices (if using) and set on paper towel.
- Slice the cheese.
- When the grill is hot, grease the grates and grill lamb patties 4-5 minutes on each side, closing the lid. Cook to the desired doneness see post above for temps. During the last minute of grilling, top with the cheese to melt it and toast buns at the same time.
- Assemble. Once cheese has melted, assemble. Spread harissa aioli on both sides of the buns, layer the lamb burgers, optional bacon, arugula, tomatoes and pickled onions and then, the bun top.
- Serve immediately!
Feel free to double or triple the recipe!
If you don’t have a grill, feel free to pan sear in a greased skillet or grill pan on the stove.
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