from Daniel Larkin
to Jamey Bennett
I finally remembered what recipe I was going to pass on. Two words, dude; Lamb-Burgers. Technically that’s a hyphenated word, but you get the point.
This is something John and I did during our “Backyard Camp” a few weeks ago. We wanted to test out our hammocks, but we didn’t want to risk a shitty night’s sleep in the woods if it was a disaster. So we did an overnight camp out on the giant hill behind my neighborhood. Most of the hilltop was cleared to build homes before Saddlebrook went under. Much of that has grown back up again, except for two areas – a giant pile of unused corrugated sewer lines, and a small area where someone has built a concrete block fire pit. The sights and sounds of nature mingled with the sights and smells of neglected construction. Classy.
We hiked up with full packs, though technically they weren’t “full packs” in the backpacking sense because they were full of Boddingtons cream ale, Bombay Sapphire gin, ground lamb, buns, veggies, a can of lard, bacon, bagels and eggs.
So here’s what happened. Before we went up, we roasted four large cloves of garlic in the toaster oven, mashed and diced them, and mixed it all with a full pound of ground lamb, salt and pepper.
I also sliced two sweet onions that I had purchased that morning at the Farmers Market. (I used my julian slicer, so the cuts were thin and even) I set the sliced onion into a bag of buttermilk. In a separate bag, I packed a mix of southern batter – flour, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, and red and black pepper. ONION STRAWS!
At “camp” we ran a small fire to coals and grilled the burgers – a full pound of lamb evenly split into two artery clogging patties. Obviously, we never pressed the burgers, but gently flipped them taking great pains to keep all the juices inside. We grilled the buns, which were egg-bread, and we sliced the tomato, which I had also purchased at the Farmers Market.
The kicker, though, was the onion straws. While the burgers were grilling, we carefully dropped the onions by hand into the flour mix and warmed the lard in a fireside pot. We had to mix the onions in small batches so that we wouldn’t gum up the flour mix, and we fried them in smaller batches so that the lard wouldn’t drop too much in temperature.
The final stack went like this – Grilled buns, a heavy covering of Grey Poupon Harvest Ground Mustard, mixed greens, a slice of garden fresh tomato, fried onion straws, a thick slice of havarti cheese, and the garlic infused patty. This was, hands down, the BEST burger I have EVER eaten. We could build a restaurant off of this burger alone. Every flavor was present in every bite. Nothing was overshadowed. You could taste the garlic and the mustard, but the onion straws and cheese were still very present.
We washed it down with Dogfish head Squall IPA, which is a bottle conditioned, naturally carbonated version of the 90 Minute. The high carbonation and ridiculous amount of hops were the perfect pair to clear the palette between bites.
Breakfast got rained out, but that didn’t matter one bit. John and I are doing a back-country trip with our fathers this fall, but we’re canoeing in so we’ll be able to take coolers. That means Nate will finally get to experience the glories of true Lamb Burgers! (I guess it was two words that time)
Seriously, Jamey, try this. Please!