Be Skilled When You Grill | Ka Burger from Guest Writer Patrick Cusick
Jun 9th, 2014
‘Tis the season to be inundated with the spring onslaught of grilling articles. Every May – without fail – our selection of culinary magazines arrives in the mailbox, each espousing its epicurean mastery of all things grilled. Invariably, the obligatory articles claiming to have the recipe for the “Best Burger You’ve Ever Had” and “Why Haven’t You Been Grilling Your Vegetables?” make their case in each monthly periodical of the bons vivant. Many, many of these articles contain recipes calling for the most esoteric of ingredients. “Sumac is a must for this piquant delight!” Puh-leeze… But let’s not dismiss these notions completely. Trying new things is always a good idea, and grilling lends itself well to experimentation, but these articles often steer people in strange directions. Not everyone wants to master tandoori chicken, or serve lamb koftas to their picky in-laws – nor should they. The beauty of grilling lies in the joy of cooking outdoors, taking advantage of fresh ingredients, and sharing them with friends. So instead of craning one’s neck, looking back and forth between that recipe in the latest foodie mag and whatever you’re burning on you grill, keep it simple. Cook what you love, and love serving it to others.
Here are some suggestions for making the most out of grilling season:
- Talk to your grocers: your produce manager and butcher will always have great suggestions for what is fresh and delicious right now. They’ll even have some great recipes, if that’s what you’re after.
- Anything you like cooking inside can be grilled. Do you like broccoli? I do. Grill it. Thinking of making salsa? Grill the tomatoes. Grill the onions. Grill the peppers. Grill it ALL!
- Always have coarse salt, black pepper and olive oil. You’ll need it for all those veggies you’re going to grill!
Be creative this summer when you grill — try this recipe: The Ka Burger
Maybe your family is half-‘Merican, half-Arab. Or the kids want burgers, but you want kabobs. Perhaps you’ve recently migrated from the Middle East and are trying to assimilate into American culture, but still long for the taste of home.
Or maybe you just feel like making burgers, but also want to try something new. I have just the thing.
I like to call this little gem the “Ka-Burger.” Basically, it’s a lamb kofta (a traditional Persian kabob recipe), but served as a burger. Now, I’ve made traditional koftas before and they are absolutely sublime. I use this particular recipe as a “point of entry” to Middle Eastern cuisine for those less traveled – culinarily speaking. As such, I’ve omitted a few of the more traditional touches normally included in a Kofta, but it still serves as an admirable East-meets-West grilling item.
One thing for which there is no substitute in this recipe is ground lamb. This is a must. You can cut it with some ground beef, but I prefer using 100% lamb in the mix for a more intense flavor. For those who find lamb too gamey (and that’s a pretty common gripe with lamb), this recipe removes all of that funkiness that normally has lamb-doubters turning up their noses. Seriously: the Ka-Burger is a gamer-changer. One pound of ground lamb will render four, decent-sized patties after all the other ingredients join the party!
Get the recipe here.