Lamb Burger with Tzatziki Recipe

Lamb Burger with Tzatziki Recipe
Contributor
Lamb Burger with Tzatziki
Arthur Bovino
Lamb Burger with Tzatziki

Themed burgers can be dangerous. Use too many gimmicks, make things too complicated, and you run the risk of being all concept. It's one of the things I most admire about Chef Scott Smith at RUB BBQ in New York, who does a different themed burger every week. Scott's burgers are always playful and within the idea he's doing, but they always work.

I keep this in mind anytime I try something overly complicated or themed — making sure that the dish works not just within the theme but on the palate. So it was with this Greek-themed lamb burger with tzatziki. Technically pita probably would have been the component to finish this theme, but it's hard to find fantastic pita, and pita with a burger... well, kinda doesn't feel like a burger anymore — feels like a gimmick.

So with this Greek-themed lamb burger, the flavors are there, with a couple themed touches, but when it comes down to it, it's still a burger. A spicy, tangy, salty, juicy, wet burger. You won't be disappointed.

Click here to seee 7 Must-Try Burger Recipes. 

Ingredients

For the quick-pickled onions:

  • ½ red onion, thinly-sliced
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar

For the tzatziki:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons dill, minced

For the burger patty:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper

For assembly:

  • Bun
  • Butter
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ English hothouse cucumber
  • 2 pepperoncini

Directions

For the quick-pickled onions:

Slicing them as thin as possible is key. Before you do anything, slice the onion super-thin, then soak them in vinegar. I used cider and rice wine vinegar mix because that's what I had, and the mix tasted good, but feel free to experiment with your own mix (just stay away from balsamic, too strong). Onions will be ready when you plate.

Turn on your grill.

For the tzatziki:

Use the food processor. Purée the garlic cloves with salt and pepper. Add the cucumber. Pulse. Add yogurt, olive oil, dill and taste. Adjust seasoning and set aside. (You can hit it with lemon juice too for a little tang.)

For the burger patty:

Form them into balls. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Halve the rolls, butter the inside of each half. Flatten the patties so that they're only a ¼-inch thick and lay on the grill for a minute and a half. Flip. Place rolls butter-side down on the grill. Remove the burgers after another minute and a half. Rest. Remove buns.

For assembly:

Spread tzatziki all over the surface of the bottom bun, place the patty on the bun, top with 2 slices of tomato, 2 slices of cucumber (peeled and sliced on the bias), 2 halved pepperoncini, and a healthy amount of quick-pickled red onions. Spread the tzatziki on the top half of the bun, then ladle 2 tablespoons of it on top of the burger. Top with the top half of the bun and serve with napkins.

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.