Thursday, October 13, 2011

Middle Eastern Spiced Burgers

Grilling: a traditional American culinary sport.  But do you cancel the game when it’s raining or too cold? A hamburger was sounding so good!  I doubt that your dollar store umbrella will hold up to the heat of standing over a grill for 30 minutes.  So, you gotta move it inside.  No, not the grill; the cooking.
Hamburgers on the stovetop may not have the same manly appeal or smoky charcoal  taste, but with the programmable heat of a stove top, you truly become “grill master”.   There is no waiting for the grill to heat up, or poking the coals in an attempt to distribute the heat.  The stove top ensures instant, even heat – aka the way to a perfectly cooked burger.   If you still want to cook with the dry heat quality of the grill, I would recommend using a well seasoned cast-iron skillet.  If you have a non-stick skillet though, I have a plan for that too. 
Diverging again from tradition, I chose to season by hamburger with Middle Eastern spices like allspice, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and fresh parsley from the herb garden.  When I season burgers, I use the smell test – if you can smell the spices, not faintly or overwhelmingly, you are golden.  (It’s kinda like that smell test you use when you wake up and decide that this sock is clean and that one is…ugh, not.) Egg, olive oil, and breadcrumbs were my binders, so the burgers wouldn’t fall apart while cooking.  As for the cooking device, the cast-iron was dirty, so the non-stick frying pan won out.  So instead of technically grilling these burgers, they were semi-deep fried in olive oil.  Great choice.  These burgers had a crispy outer crust, but were still dripping on the inside with juices, and loaded with fragrant spices.  
The last thing I would recommend is smearing your burger with a dollop of plain Greek Yogurt, and pairing with with thin slices of tomato and cucumber.  So, while it’s not your all-American cookout-style burger, it may be your new favorite creative alternative.     

Middle Eastern Spiced Burgers
1 clove garlic, finely diced
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1 lb ground beef (80/20 or 85/15, don’t go too lean)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (can substitute regular pepper too)
1 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup bread crumbs
2 T olive oil + about ½ cup, divided

1.       Using your hands, mix together all ingredients, except ¼ cup olive oil, until well combined. **Do not over work meat, as it will make your burger tough. 

2.       Preheat medium sized skillet with ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat. **DO NOT let oil smoke, or get too hot.
3.       Form six 1-inch-thick patties with ground beef mixture. 

4.       After verifying oil is hot (hover hand over oil to feel heat or place piece of bread to see if the oil sizzles and browns the bread), gently place patties in oil 3 at a time. Oil should sizzle once beef is placed in. 
5.       Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side, flipping once.   

6.       Once browned and cooked through, remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb remaining oil.   


  1. Nomygod that looks good.

  2. Hey is that a "green egg"???

    SOunds yummy!