What makes a good burger? This question occupies the minds of almost every chef in every American restaurant on the planet, because the burger is such an integral part of the meal. However good the accompanying chips, sauces, vegetables, and drink are, if the patty isn’t cooked to a T, the meal ends up a disappointment. However, in my family, we try and stay away from cooking beef at home due to our Indian culture. So, we decided to put a spin on the classic beef patty, fire up the grill, and make some lamb burgers.
But how does one really make a burger? I would like us to take some time to think about the essence of burger-making. When someone bites into your burger, you know it’s been cooked well when they don’t say anything; rather, they just sigh in happiness. So around our firepit, when the burgers are served, we evaluate how they were made by how busy everyone is eating them.
However, just a patty and two buns maketh not a great burger. To create a full and complete experience, you need to consider three main things: taste, texture, and presentation. To make the burger taste amazing, you need to grill both sides for the perfect amount of time. We detail this in our recipe below, but it’s something worth practicing. If you do it correctly, not only will it be a mouthwatering bite, but there will be a thin crust on the outside and the archetypical grill marks.
The last thing I would like to mention are some accompaniments. For a burger, the classic accompaniments are some lettuce and a tomato slice to add a bit of zing and coolness to the heavy patty. Additionally, ketchup, fries, and vinegar provide something else to eat for a break from the burger itself. And finally, a cool soft drink refreshes you and lets you eat each bite with the maximum gusto. If it’s a good burger, it deserves nothing less.
Serves 4 (Multiply if you have more people)
6 tablespoons butter
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups ground lamb
Freeze 6 tablespoons butter in the freezer until solid.
For the dry seasoning, mix 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil,and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
Place about 3 cups of ground lamb inside a large mixing bowl. Grate the frozen butter over it, and mix thoroughly. Then, toss in your dry seasoning and mix until all of the meat is seasoned well.
Form the meat into balls, and press into burger shaped patties. Use a ring mold to get the perfect shape. Set aside, and start the grill.
For the ‘baste’, soften 6 tablespoons butter until very soft and almost melted. Mix with 2 cloves of crushed/minced garlic and a sprig of rosemary.
Once the grill is heated up, (see grill preparation) oil the grates and place your smash burgers on the grill. Cook until colored nicely on the bottom side, and then flip.
Once you have flipped it, put some of the soft butter on top of the burger and brush on the top and sides. Close the grill and let the temperature pick back up.
Once the burger is colored on the other side, put it up on the warming rack and baste the side that was on the grates, using as much baste as necessary.
Leave on the warming rack and use a meat probe to check internal temperatures. You are looking for 160ºF. If putting inside buns, do heat up the buns on the grill before serving.