Lamb Burgers with Herbs

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Instead of serving these with ketchup try thickening some yogurt by leaving it overnight in cheesecloth.


Cooking Methodgrilling



Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course


Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, meaty, savory, smoky

Type of Dishhamburger


  • Muslin or cheesecloth
  • 2 cups low fat or full fat plain yogurt
  • 1½ to 1¾ pounds ground lamb
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried fennel
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, quartered (optional)


To make the yogurt:

Line a colander with muslin or cheesecloth. Place the colander over a large mixing bowl. Place the yogurt in the colander, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Discard the liquid in the bowl. Transfer the yogurt cheese to a small mixing bowl and use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. (Yield: 2 cups)

To make the burgers:

Place the lamb, mint, basil, rosemary and fennel in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Place the mixture on a work surface and divide into 4 balls of equal size. Form each into a patty about ¾ to 1 inch thick, tossing it back and forth between your hands. To ensure more even cooking, make a ½-inch indentation with your thumb in the center of the burger.

Handle the patties as little as possible; do not work more than necessary.

Prepare a grill to medium-high. When the coals are glowing red, after 15 to 20 minutes, cover with the grate. After 5 minutes, use a wire brush to thoroughly clean the grate. Brush the grate with oil. When the coals are covered with pale gray ash and you can leave your hand 5 inches above the fire for 2 to 3 seconds, the coals are ready.

Sprinkle both sides of the burgers with the salt and pepper. Place the burgers on the grate and grill until well seared on both sides, about 4 minutes for medium rare or 5 minutes for medium.

Transfer to pita bread pockets or a serving platter and serve immediately with yogurt and/or lemon quarters.

Alternatively, place a cast iron skillet over high heat and when it is hot but not smoking add the burgers to the dry pan. Cook until well seared on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare or 10 to 12 minutes for medium.



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