Burger Me (with two kinds of meat)

The finished lamb burger

Another weekend, another session on the minced meat. This time we had a request for burgers from the Mayola kitchen from Andy (well actually, he wanted to get a burger from Bang in Shoreditch, but I persuaded him we could do better. And I didn’t want to leave the house).

The beef burger recipe is presented as a modification of the lamb recipe – the “technique” as such is all in the lamb instructions. We cooked both together.

Use the best mince you can get.



Lamb burgers, Greek style

500g lamb mince
1 egg
Half an onion, finely chopped
4 sprigs of rosemary
5 cloves of garlic
1 small sprig thyme
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
Baking paper

For the “works”

250ml greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs of mint
Feta cheese
Lamb’s lettuce
Ciabatta rolls

Pick the leaves off the rosemary and thyme, peel the garlic, and put in a blender with a dash of oil. Blend to a paste. If you’re having trouble with not enough liquid in the blender to get an even mix, crack the egg in too and blend them all.

Put paste and egg into a mixing bowl with the mince and onion. Mix thoroughly – using your hands is best. Season well with lots of salt and pepper.

Shape into patties – wide and flat is good, as they’ll contract in the cooking. Chris actually weighed ours out to quarter pounders on the scales as we were going along. Put them on tray or chopping board, layering them up separated by a sheet of baking paper, and stick them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Chris shaping burgers

Prepare the sauce – in a mortar, pound the garlic and a big pinch of rough sea salt with pestle into a pulp. Scoop as much yogurt as you can into the mortar, and mix thoroughly. Then, scoop the yogurt out of the mortar into a bowl, add the rest of the yogurt. Finely chop the mint and stir in. Season to taste.

Heat a grill pan on high until very hot. Grill the burgers for a 4-5 minutes on each side – until they have good brown char lines. When they’re just about done, flip them one last time and place slices of feta on the hot burgers. Give them another minute to at least warm the feta. Toast the ciabatta rolls if you like now.

To serve, layer like this on the ciabatta: ketchup, burger with feta, yogurt sauce, slices of cucumber, lamb’s lettuce.

Lamb burger stack

Beef burgers, in an English-Hawaiian fusion

500g beef mince
1 egg
half an onion, finely chopped
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

For the “works”

Bacon (whatever your preference, smoked/unsmoked, regular/streaky)
Pineapple rings (ideally fresh, tinned will do)
Salad leaves
Sesame seed burger buns

For the burgers, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, as for the lamb. Form into patties and refrigerate as above.

Grill some rashers of bacon in the pan first, as you want to get them crispy. Then grill the burgers for a few minutes on each side, depending on how pink you like them. Just before they’re ready, flip once more, and put slices of Stilton on the hot face of the meat.

To serve, layer on the bun: ketchup, burger with Stilton, bacon rasher, pineapple ring, sliced tomato, salad leaves, mayonnaise.

Serve with chips (natch).

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9 Responses to Burger Me (with two kinds of meat)

  1. Will says:

    Yo. The lamb sounds pretty good – did you think about crumbling some feta through the burger?

    That said, I’m thoroughly anti-egg in burgers, I think it’s totally unnecessary to make them bind, and it makes them too dense as the coagulation temperature of the egg proteins is lower than the temperature generally reached in the medium-rare heart of the burger. A well mashed together meat mix will bind perfectly well by itself when cooked to medium rare, and an egg-free burger is much juicier, which is exactly what I want when I bite in. You’ll never find egg in a good American hamburger, and they know what they’re doing.

  2. Luke says:

    Feta in burger – not sure what that would be like texture-wise? Hmm.

    Eggs – depends on how much wet ingredients (stuff that releases water) you put in the burger mix, I think. If you’ve got a lot of herbs/onion/garlic in the mix I would stick an egg in to help it bind. Otherwise as they cook the burgers tend to fall apart.

    The beef, with less wet ingredients, and with a higher protein/fat ratio probably didn’t need the egg though, you’re right.

  3. Will says:

    I’m still not convinced – I often grate half an onion into my burger mince, and do the same if I’m making lamb kofta kebabs, but still don’t use an egg, and never have any falling apart problems.

    Speaking of fat/protein in the meat, there’s a good post on ‘a hamburger today’ about the merits of different cuts in the mince, however you do require a home mincing machine to get into this. Actually, maybe I can use the thermomix as an alternative…

  4. Luke says:

    Interesting… I didn’t inquire at the butcher what cut the mince was. I’ve always thought that higher protein = better binding, but you don’t want too little fat, to keep your burgers juicy.

    Texture is a whole different ball game though…

    My experience with making unusual flavoured burgers, with a lot of wet ingredients – I’m talking a lot more than half an onion – is that they don’t shape very well. If you’re chucking in sundried tomatoes, handfuls of basil, garlic etc etc the mix can get a bit loose and an egg helps to keep it together. Same problem with adana kebabs – too much cumin/parsley and they slip off the skewer…

  5. Karim Rashad says:

    > however you do require a home mincing machine to get into this.

    You can do a suprisingly good job of mincing a sirloin steak etc using the standard rocking motion used to finely chop herbs, but with two chef’s knifes instead of one.

  6. andy bremner says:

    delicious, but I am now corpulent and sluggish.

  7. ellymillar says:

    Interested in what Karim says… There was a ‘burger’ section in the Observer a while back, and the bald guy from Masterchef gave a recipe; he also had something to say about the virtues of chopping the meat rather than grinding it (said it gives a better texture).

  8. Will says:

    burger snobs are obsessed with the coarseness of the meat, that said I’ve never thought of holding two knives to achieve a coarse grind (and it slightly alarms me). Also, I think sirloin is a bit low on fat for a burger, I’d go for a cheaper & fattier cut = juicier.

    All this talk is really, really making me want a proper New York burger. gaaaah.

  9. Luke says:

    We were totally burgered. Andy ate three and Nathaniel and I had 2 and half each. Chris let the side down by only having two.

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