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For The Ultimate Lamb Burger, You're Better Off Grinding Your Own Meat

raw meat patties separated by parchment paper
raw meat patties separated by parchment paper - Karandaev/Getty Images

Whether served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce or studded with garlic nestled inside a brioche bun, the ultimate lamb burger begins before the protein hits the heat. To make a juicy, flavorful bite, the meat grinder needs to start whirling. While the pre-ground product is convenient, the choice of the blend of meat and the ratio of fat is already predetermined. Sometimes personally creating that ingredient balance can make for a more enjoyable final product.

By grinding the meat at home, the scrumptious blend of lamb leg, shank, and fat can be created. For example, lean lamb cuts offer that grassy, earthy flavor which makes this protein unique. The shank can bring a punch of minerality or umami flavors, similar to adding offal to a blend.

A burger requires fat for not only unctuous flavor but also for textural consistency. Anyone who has suffered through a dry, crumbly burger can appreciate that caveat. Grinding pieces of fat into the leaner protein cuts creates a studded appearance that keeps the burger moist through the cooking process, leaving you with a succulent lamb burger.

Read more: The Unexpected Meat You Need To Avoid Grilling At All Costs

The Key To Avoiding Mushy Ground Lamb

lamb burger served with cucumbers and sauce
lamb burger served with cucumbers and sauce - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

While grinding those lamb cuts at home is preferable to letting the butcher handle the meat, the process is not as simple as just feeding the pieces through the chute. This is why it's recommended to freeze the lamb meat, which helps to avoid overheating during the grinding process and creates a more even consistency. Since heat is generated during the grinding process, the chilled meat has less likelihood of becoming too warm during the preparation. Even a few ice cubes added to the mix can help to keep the temperature lower.

In addition, smaller pieces and batches will help to create the desired consistency. Most importantly, the lamb will not become a mushy mess. A mealy, soggy consistency negatively impacts the meat during the cooking process. Similar to overhandling ground meat as it is formed into a patty, a spongy texture will make for an unpleasant eating experience once the burger is cooked.

How To Add Flavor To Ground Lamb Meat

lamb burgers on a grill
lamb burgers on a grill - Алексей Филатов/Getty Images

While the phrase what grows together goes together often applies to pairing fruits and vegetables, the idea of pairing regional flavors with certain ingredients is equally as true. Since ground lamb meat is often used in Mediterranean recipes, using spices and ingredients from the region can highlight the flavorful qualities of the protein.

For example, a smoky paprika, an earthy cumin, or the classic oregano can add flavor depth without overpowering the lamb's slightly gamey notes. Adding those spices to the ground meat mixture creates more nuance in every bite. When adding these spices, it is best to incorporate them after grinding the lamb meat. Coating the uncut pieces before putting them through the grinder or in the food processor can create uneven seasoning. So make sure to season the meat before forming it into patties.

This will leave you with an incredible-tasting meal whether you choose to serve it inside a pita pocket, a bun, or however you choose.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.