If you’re a fan of gyros, then you’re going to LOVE these Greek-style keto lamb burgers! This recipe comes complete with homemade tzatziki and whipped herbed feta. Get ready for sensation overload— these low-carb burgers are bursting with flavor!
Back in my 20s, I co-owned a creeper van with four other hooligans— we named him Teddy. Sorry ’bout your luck Ted, but your name’s kinda creepy. We were living in Hawaii at the time and spent most days as a posse— so joint ownership only made sense.
These days life looks a little different. Instead of growing magical mushrooms and waking up on pizzas, I’m singing Baby Shark and changing poopy Pampers. It’s all good though, Hawaii was a glorious chapter— but so is motherhood.
Recently, my husband and I met up with a former HI-life cohort, Ian. Ian prepared a straight feast for us— charcuterie plate, homemade pretzels with beer cheese, and these killer Greek lamb burgers. No lie, these burgers were some of the BEST I’ve ever had! Fortunately, Ian was generous enough to share his secrets— mah man!
What is a Greek-Style Burger?
Greece is in the heart of the Mediterranean, making it a hot spot for fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors. From organically grown produce to fresh-caught fish, Greek cuisine relies heavily on locally sourced ingredients. The following is a list of ingredients commonly used in Greek cuisine.1
- Olives— From Cretan to kalamata (or even in the form of oil) olives are a staple ingredient of Greek cuisine. Although these burgers don’t call for olives, there’s plenty of olive oil at play.
- Yogurt— Full-fat Greek yogurt is a MUST for authentic tzatziki sauce. And tzatziki is what really puts the “Greek-style” into this burger!
- Herbs— When I think of Greek food, fresh flavors come to mind. Greek cuisine uses a lot of fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, and mint— all of which are represented within this recipe.
- Lamb— Lamb is one of the more popular meat choices within Greece— and generally one that’s indicative of a celebration.
- Feta— Anyone who knows anything about Greek cooking understands that fresh feta is non-negotiable.
How do you season lamb burgers?
When it comes to killer cooking, half the battle lies in using quality ingredients. This means, selecting unadulterated meat, and working with fresh, aromatic herbs.
CHOOSE HIGH-QUALITY GROUND LAMB
When it comes to lamb (or meat in general) quality pertains to how the animal was raised, what it was fed, and if hormones or antibiotics were administered before processing. In general, I’d encourage you to avoid meat produced by factory farms. The thing is, factory farms such as Tyson, JBS, Cargill, Smithfield, and Perdue mass produce their meat at the expense of your body, the animal, and our planet.2
So what are factory farms exactly?
Factory farms are large, industrial operations that are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with animal or planetary welfare. These commercialized slaughterhouses keep animals in such horrific conditions that the animals are often pumped full of antibiotics to ward off disease.3,4
ASPCA Recommended Certifications
The ASPCA recommends that those who eat or buy meat, eggs, or dairy seek out products bearing the logo of one of the checkmark certifications below. These third-party verified programs represent a spectrum of better ways to raise animals—from enriched indoor environments to pasture-based farming—but all offer animals significantly better lives than conventional factory farms.
Animal Welfare Approved
Continuous access to pasture or range. No feedlots. Cage confinement, hormones, and subtherapeutic (preventative or growth-promoting) antibiotics are prohibited.7 Standards extend to breeding animals, transport, and slaughter.8 Compliance verified by auditors on every farm. Animal Welfare Approved represents a very significant improvement over conventional standards.
Continuous outdoor access for ruminants. Outdoor access is not required for birds and pigs unless the words “free-range” or “pasture” also appear on the packages.9 Cage confinement, hormones, and subtherapeutic antibiotics are prohibited. Certified Humane represents a considerable improvement over conventional standards.
USE FRESH HERBS
Greek cuisine traditionally uses fresh herbs and spices. And it really does make a difference. However, if you’re going to cut corners, you could get away with using dried herbs to season the meat. Just keep in mind the fresher the ingredients, the better the flavor.
DON’T OVER-MIX THE MEAT
Overworking the meat will result in tough burgers— and that’s not what you want. Tender burgers are achieved by mixing the meat just long enough to combine all the ingredients. The easiest way to do this is to get in there with your hands. Squeezing the meat through your fingers is an effective way of distributing the seasoning throughout the meat without overworking it.
How do you cook lamb burgers?
Burger Cooking Tools
Cast Iron Skillet
Before we get to the good stuff, you should know about some handy kitchen tools. These tools make a world of difference when cooking lamb (and meat in general). First, I would highly recommend investing in a cast iron skillet. There are a few reasons for this. Cast iron is the king of holding heat, and a high-heat skillet is imperative if you desire that crunchy, charred exterior. What’s more, cast iron provides an even cook (no brainer when it comes to cooking— well— anything).
- Pittsburg 110-120°F (43-49°C)
- Rare 120-130°F (49-54°C)
- Med Rare 130-135°F (54-57°C)
- Medium 135-145°F (57-63°C)
- Med Well 145-155°F (63-68°C)
- Well Done 155°F (68°C) plus
Allow for rest time. The internal temperature of the steak will rise 3-4 degrees while resting.
Is it safe to eat lamb rare?
Lamb chops are safe to eat rare as long as you sear the surface. This is because, like beef, bacterial contamination (such as E. coli) is easily destroyed with an exterior sear. The problem with ground lamb (or beef) is that the bacteria can be distributed throughout the meat, which is why thorough cooking is recommended for any ground meat product.10
However, it should be noted that poor animal handling is a significant factor contributing to bacterial contamination. Therefore, I would be far less concerned with consuming a rare lamb burger as long as it’s consciously sourced.11 Bottom line— eating undercooked meat comes with the risk of foodborne illness. But then again, so does eating unwashed spinach.
Grill or Stove Top?
No brainer— I’m a grill gal all the way! I love the way high heat renders fat and gently chars the meat. I’m no grill master— but these lamb burgers are so easy— anyone can do it!
Cooking Burgers on the Grill
- Bring your grill to high heat (approximately 500°F).
- Allow 5 minutes for the grates to heat.
- After the grill is nice and hot, place the burgers on the grill and close the lid. For a medium-rare, allow 4 minutes of cooking before opening the lid and flipping the patty.
- Close the lid and continue cooking for another 4 minutes.
- To ensure proper temp, insert the thermometer into the center of the patty.
Cooking Burgers on the Stove Top
- Place a dollop of butter in a cast iron skillet and bring to medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, place the patty in the skillet, and cover it with a lid. For a medium-rare, allow 5-6 minutes of cooking before flipping the patty.
- Once again, place the lid on the skillet and give the patty an additional 5-6 minutes of cook time.
- To ensure proper temp, insert the thermometer into the center of the patty.
What do you put on lamb burgers?
- Tzatziki— Tzatziki is a classic creamy Greek sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill. Homemade tzatziki sauce is what makes this burger— it’s a must!
- Whipped feta with fresh herbs— Feta is a brined curd cheese made from Sheep’s milk. Feta cheese has a fairly robust flavor. Whipping it softens its flavor and texture. Alternatively, I’ve substituted whipped feta with Meredith Dairy Sheep and Goat Cheese. Doing so saves you time in the kitchen (and it honestly is just as delicious)!
- Butter lettuce— No bun, no problem. Butter lettuce makes the perfect keto “bun.” This burger is so delicious, you won’t even miss the bun!
- Red onion— Generally I’m not all about onions on my burgers. However, lamb and red onions just get along. Trust me— add the onion.
- Tomato— I opted out of the tomato this time around, but I’m sure it would make a nice addition.
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