As you may have noticed, I’ve been having a real love affair with my grill. It’s an old three-burner Brinkmann I inherited that, at its newest and best, was still a $200 grill styled to look like a $600 grill. It leaks gas. The electric ignition is shot, requiring the operator of the grill to fling lit wooden kitchen matches at the grill top in order to get it lit. The line to the side burner is dangling under the shelf. The heat dispersion panels are rusted out and falling into the bottom of the grill. To get the third burner to light, you have to make kind of wooshing-to-the-left motions with your hands, and then close the lid. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t still work, cranking out consistent, even-enough 650 degree temperatures that put one hell of a sear on anything you throw at (on) it.
Today, I made cheeseburgers using ground lamb, that boldly proclaimed its “Raised in the USA” status (right…because nobody wants that New Zealand stuff). The domestic origin did seem to drive down the per-pound cost, though, which is great in the case of lamb burgers, because nobody wants to grind up a beautiful $50 Australian lamb shoulder to make burgers. It also seems to have a slightly stronger “lamb” flavor, which I like in a burger, when we are going to be including lots of other flavors. I am also making these burgers thicker than I would a beef burger, at about five or six ounces each, because of lamb’s tendency to dry out on the grill. A bit thicker patty will make sure that our burgers stay moist and juicy.
For extra crunch, I’m also including a quick hash brown layer, an idea I have become obsessed with since I first read Internet rumblings about the McDonald’s “10:25 Burger,” a burger you can make by visiting a McDonald’s at precisely the moment when breakfast transitions into lunch. During this magical window, there is a five or ten minute overlap wherein it becomes possible to order both breakfast and lunch, allowing you to mix-and-match components from both a Quarter Pounder and an Egg McMuffin. While the idea of eating one of McDonalds’ peculiar little white egg discs on a burger doesn’t seem too appealing, the notion of a crispy hash brown layer seemed like something I should be replicating at home.
Manchego Lamb Burgers w/ Fried Potato Chive Cakes
Makes three or four burgers; Adapted from a recipe in Sunset
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- Vegetable oil
- 12 ounces ground lamb
- 4 ounces ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- t easpoon parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 4 slices Spanish Manchego
- 4 leaves of butter lettuce
- 4 onion rolls
- Soak grated potatoes in water for a few minutes to rinse off excess starch. Drain, and toss with salt, pepper, and chives. In a large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Drop spoonfuls of potato mixture into pan, and flatten with a spatula into patties. Cook until very brown on both sides, about six minutes total. Drain on paper towels.
- Form ground lamb into three or four thick burger patties, and cook over high heat on a grill or in a frying pan, turning occasionally, about three or four minutes per side. Top with sliced cheese and cover until cheese melts. Remove from heat and let burgers rest while you assemble the other ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and dijon mustard.
- To assemble each burger: Split an onion roll and toast, if desired. Place a leaf of lettuce on the bottom bun, followed by the grilled lamb burger. Top with a fried potato chive cake, and about a teaspoon of the dijon mixture. Serve immediately.