BurgerCompetition in the backyard grill universe can make the prima donna chefs on television seem like ballerinas. We’re talking grill tools worn in holsters and fires stoked to raging infernos. Real grillers break a sweat—and, of course, eat meat. (No oxymoronic salmon burgers here.) But real grilling also is healthy, an original low-calorie cooking method. In addition, the following burgers get extras in the way of herbs, spices, and mix-ins such as antioxidantrich
citrus and vitamin K-loaded cilantro to add a healthy boost of flavor. And now that research has, for the most part, vindicated grilling as being little different from other forms of cooking as far as the formation and retention of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines goes, getting your caveman (or cavewoman) on and slapping these burgers on the fire can be guilt free. (Well, except for vegetarians.) In other words, flame on!

Note: In all these recipes, there’s lots of stuff in the burger mixtures; the patties will be somewhat loose. Keep the grill racks well seasoned and don’t flip the patties until they’re ready. Treat ‘em gently and have patience. Grilling is part Zen, too, you know.

Lamb Burgers AnatoliaLamb

Makes 4 to 6 servings

11⁄2 pounds lean ground lamb
1⁄3 cup capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 level teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
Warm pita bread
Babaganoush (roasted eggplant) spread
Chopped Italian parsley
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cucumbers
Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Tahini (optional)


Combine lamb with capers, rosemary, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Form mixture into four to six patties, about 3⁄4-inch thick; chill before grilling.Turkey

Place patties gently on the oiled rack of a medium-hot grill directly over the heat. Grill for 12 to 16 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of a patty registers 165°F, flipping carefully halfway through grilling.

Spread inside of pitas with babaganoush and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Add lamb burgers and top with tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta, if using, and drizzle with tahini, if desired. Serve immediately.

TD&N Nutrient Analysis (based on 6 servings): Calories: 322; Total Fat: 27 g; Saturated Fat: 12 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 83 mg; Sodium: 291 mg; Carbohydrates: 0 g; Fiber: 0 g; Protein: 19 g


Pollo Mole Burger


Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 teaspoons cooking oilpollo
1 small onion, chopped
11⁄2 pounds ground chicken
3 tablespoons dark mole
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, mashed
4 to 6 flour tortillas, warmed


Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Caramelize onions; set aside until they reach room temperature.

Combine onion with chicken, mole, chipotle peppers, and salt. Form mixture into four to six oblong patties about 3⁄4-inch thick. Chill before grilling.

Place patties gently on the oiled rack of a medium-hot grill directly over the heat. Grill for 12 to 16 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of a patty registers 165°F, flipping carefully halfway through grilling.

Spread mashed avocado on flour tortillas and wrap the tortillas around the grilled chicken patties. Add condiments as desired. Serve immediately.

TD&N Nutrient Analysis (based on 6 servings): Calories: 294; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 98 mg; Sodium: 488 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 23 g