Substitute lamb for beef to make especially juicy burgers

Substitute lamb for beef to make especially juicy burgers

Backyard barbecues typically are informal gatherings. That lack of formality coupled with warm weather makes for a relaxing vibe.

When relaxing with family and friends in their backyards, grillmasters may be tempted to experiment with less traditional takes on grilling staples. For example, according to John Holl, author of “The American Craft Beer Cookbook” (Storey), using ground lamb in place of traditional ground beef can make burgers more juicy. That’s something even the most diehard devotee to burgers will no doubt appreciate the next time you fire up your grill for a get-together in the backyard.

Grilled Lamb Burgers with Local Chévre  and Mint-Cilantro Aioli

Makes 6 burgers

Mint-Cilantro Aioli

1          cup aioli or mayonnaise

1          tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1          tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1 1/2    teaspoons chopped fresh garlic

            Juice of 1 lemon

1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4       teaspoon salt

Burgers

3          pounds ground lamb

2          eggs

1/4       cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 1/2    teaspoons chopped garlic

1 1/2    teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2    teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/4       cup Worcestershire sauce

6          ounces fresh chévre 

6          brioche or burger buns

1          head green or red leaf lettuce

2          ripe tomatoes, sliced

1          red onion, sliced

1. Make the aioli: Whisk the aioli, cilantro, mint, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, and salt together in a small bowl to fully incorporate the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Make the burgers: Mix the lamb, eggs, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire in a large bowl until combined. Form the burger mixture into six 7-ounce patties, transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use, or up to 1 day.

3. Prepare a medium-high fire in a gas or charcoal grill.

4. Transfer the patties to the grill and cook until medium-well, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the grill. Top the burgers with the chévre, dividing the cheese equally. Let the patties rest for 1 minute.

5. Spread the aioli on the bottom halves of the buns, and then top with the lettuce, tomato and onion. Add the burger patties and top halves and serve immediately. (MC)

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