Cooking With Fire | The Hamburger, Part 1

May 19, 2017

The history of the hamburger is a murky one…

Though most historians agree that the name originates from Hamburg, Germany, there are others who insist that it is Hamburg, New York, that gets credit for the name of this classic food.

There are no less than a dozen families that claim that their ancestors invented the hamburger, from Charlie Nagreen to Oscar Weber Bilby to Fletcher Davis -- and without written and documented proof these claims will likely never be resolved.

But there is one thing that we can all agree on, and that is that the hamburger, in all of its forms, is an amazing dish.

From the simple all-beef patty on a bun you’ll find at diners and fast food establishments around the country to dressed up variations that sometimes sell for hundreds of dollars, such as the $777 Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger sold at a Las Vegas casino, if there is a menu involved, you’ll likely find a burger on it.

But perhaps the greatest thing about the hamburger is its versatility. It can go from breakfast to dinner in a snap, and with a couple meat and ingredient substitutions the burger makes the fusion of different world cuisines easy.

From turkey burgers to tofu burgers to burgers served with donuts as buns, it is a remarkable vessel of culinary creativity.

On this episode of Cooking with Fire my co-host Chef Tom and I will dive deeper into the history of the hamburger and give you the recipe for one of our favorite fusion burgers: the lamb burger.


Lamb Burger with Green Harissa

For the burger:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • smoked salt
  • black pepper

For the Green Harissa:

  • 3 poblanos
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp mint
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • smoked salt

To serve:

  • tomato, thin sliced
  • red onion, thin sliced
  • feta
  • pita/naan
  1. Preheat your grill for high heat (450ºF) grilling, set up with direct and indirect grilling zones. 
  2. Place the poblanos and jalapeños on the grill, over direct heat. Grill on all sides until blackened. Transfer to zip top bag. Steam in the bag for 20 minutes. Remove from the bag and cut off the stems. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Peel the skin and discard. Roughly dice the flesh.
  3. Combine the peppers and the remaining harissa ingredients, except the oil and salt, in a food processor. Process until smooth. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Taste and season with the smoked salt, as needed.
  4. Combine the ground lamb, garlic and 1/4 cup minced parsley in a bowl. Mix well by hand. Form into 3 equal sized patties. Season each patty with the smoked salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  5. Grill the burgers over direct heat until nicely browned. Flip and repeat. Move to indirect heat and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF. 
  6. Cut your naan flatbread into burger sized wedges. To built the burger, place crumbled feta on the bottom “bun,” then a slice or two of tomato. Top the tomato with the burger patty, then the green harissa, thin sliced red onions and the top “bun.”