This is part 2 of a feature on my delicious experience at Grazin’ TriBeCa in NYC. You can find part 1 here.
In the kitchen of Grazin’ TriBeCa, Chef Steven Reese walked me through how he makes one of the tastiest burgers on the restaurant’s menu – The Lamb Burger (ground lamb, gyro style with a tzatziki yogurt sauce).
When they make it in-house, everything is grass-fed and finished, pasture raised and organic. They strain their own yogurt made with local milk for 24 hours to make it extra thick and rich. The hamburger bun they use is a classic white bread bun with sesame seeds, made by a small farm baker with local organic wheat.
And I have to say, you can really taste the quality of the ingredients!
This burger packs a ton of flavor in a fairly unassuming package. Sure, it looks like a tasty burger, but on first bite – woooooah.
In my chat with owner Andrew “Chip” Chiappinelli, he described the process of making a ground lamb burger taste like the delectable spiced meat that typically comes in a gyro. One major key is lots of marjoram. Fresh is too difficult to source year-round, so for consistency, they use the dried variety.
When making this burger at home, I ordered lamb from one of my favorite local farms. If that’s an option for you, I highly recommend going that route. I love keeping a pound or 2 in the freezer for whenever I’m inspired to cook up a lamb-centric meal at home.
For the yogurt, I used store-bought organic nonfat Greek yogurt. Easy peasy. And the tzatziki can be made ahead of time, so you can do it early in the day (or even the night before), stash it in the fridge and once it’s burger time, dinner comes together in a snap.
A few tips: make sure to season your meat really well before it hits the grill. The tzatziki tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge, so definitely hang onto any leftovers you have. Delicious! At Grazin’, they use “burger onions” inside the patties, which Chip describes below:
Burger Onions for us are finely diced onions that are very slowly sautéed in oil with a pinch of salt to remove the liquid. They are beyond translucent but should be cooked slowly enough to not take on a ton of color. Putting raw onions in a burger mix results in the onion sweating while the burger cooks and steaming the inside of the burger and it will not hold together well and cook differently than you expect. Adding these onions gives you all the flavor of onion without those side effect. These can be made days ahead of time.
I absolutely love this tip, because I’m a fan of onions in my burgers, but have definitely run into the issue of raw ones making the burgers fall apart a bit. And a nice layer of salt on the outside of the patty is definitely key in creating that delicious burger “crust” once it hits the grill.
Anyone who has eaten any sort of Middle Eastern/Greek/Indian meal with me knows that I’m all about the yogurt sauces. I’m big into food sharing, but when it comes to the sauce, I like one all to myself thankyouverymuch.
Don’t be shy with seasoning the tzatziki, either. Yogurt likes a good amount of salt to help make the flavors shine!
So when I made these burgers at home, I scaled the restaurant’s burger recipe down to 1/4 the original proportions, but only cut the tzatziki down by half. I’m leaving the recipe proportions as they were given to me, but just know that it scales down pretty easily. 1 pound of meat made 3 nice sized burgers for me, so if I were making the full recipe, I’d get about 12 burgers.
I finally had a really ripe tomato in my garden, so I added that to my burger toppings and served them alongside some black beans and leftover baby potatoes.
The extra tzatziki held up beautifully in the fridge for several days, and I made these killer Falafel-Spiced Chickpea Flatbreads with the rest of it (recipe coming soon!).
These burgers turned out beautifully at home. The spices in the meat are simple yet bold, and the cool sauce and crunchy cucumbers are the perfect accompaniment. The Worcestershire sauce in the tzatziki really adds a nice depth of flavor, too. Major yum!
We cooked these on the grill at home, but I asked the chef what his recommendation would be if we needed to cook them indoors, and he said a cast iron skillet should do the trick. We just quickly toasted the buns on the grill without anything spread on them, but I love that they recommend a smear of tallow, butter or rendered lamb fat. Lots of layers of flavor here!
Gyro-style seasoned ground lamb is grilled and served with a rich, creamy tzatziki yogurt sauce.
- For Tzatziki:
- 1 quart plain yogurt (hung in a coffee filter lined strainer over a bowl for 24 hours)*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons finley chopped garlic (almost to a paste)
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
- 1 large cucumber, finely diced (skin and seeds removed)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
For Lamb Burger:
- 4 pounds pasture raised ground lamb
- ¼ cup burger onions**
- 1 tablespoon garlic (finely chopped almost to a paste)
- 1 tablespoon dried Marjoram
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ tablespoon Salt
- ½ tablespoon Pepper
- Burger bun
- Red onion
- For Tzatziki: Stir ingredients together and allow to sit for a least an hour for flavors to meld (even better overnight)
- For Lamb Burger: Mix ingredients thoroughly but gently. Form in to 6 oz patties. Season outside of burger with salt and pepper. Grill to medium rare. Lightly toast a bun with tallow or butter (or rendered lamb fat), place some tzatziki on the bottom bun, then the lamb burger, top with a little more tzatziki and garnish with match sticks of cucumber if you’re feeling fancy. Dress the top bun with good crunchy lettuce and red onion.
Recipe from Grazin’ TriBeCa
*Can substitute Greek yogurt and skip the straining step.
**Burger Onions for us are finely diced onions that are very slowly sautéed in oil with a pinch of salt to remove the liquid. They are beyond translucent but should be cooked slowly enough to not take on a ton of color. Putting raw onions in a burger mix results in the onion sweating while the burger cooks and steaming the inside of the burger and it will not hold together well and cook differently than you expect. Adding these onions gives you all the flavor of onion without those side effect. These can be made days ahead of time.
- Serving Size: 1 burger
Thanks again to Chef Steven & Chip for the hospitality and for letting my readers get a peek at their delicious creations.
Grazin’ TriBeCa is located at 56 Reade Street in New York City. Grazin’ Angus Acres can also be found weekly at the Union Square Farmers Market & 79th Street Greenmarket. If you’re near upstate New York, check out their Grazin’ Hudson location at 717 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534.