Adapted from a Persian Mama recipe
For Labor Day it is tradition to have a barbecue. Just to be different this year, I decided to make koobideh hamburgers (alternate spelling kubideh). In Persia (Iran), this finely ground and seasoned meat is usually grilled on a thick skewer. Forming it into a patty to barbecue is a most California Fusion thing to do. While the burger was international the condiments were all American—well sort of—Japanese mayonnaise, German mustard, tomatoes, sweet onions, Romaine lettuce and the buns of your choice.
Wikipedia says that koobideh is made of beef or lamb, I have always known it to be made from beef and lamb. You do want a fairly high fat content (80%), so that the meat remains moist after grilling. This time, I also went to the added expense of getting grass fed beef and lamb. I served these burgers with grilled corn and coleslaw.
Karl’s Koobideh Burgers
½ yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. sumac, powdered
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. celery seeds, ground to a powder
¼ cup bread crumbs, sourdough or sweet French
1 lb. grass fed beef, ground
1 lb. grass fed lamb, ground
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1. Grate the onion and place the pulp in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
Tip: You are not precooking the onions which would reduce their liquid content. If you mixed in the wet, grated onion straight into the meat would become a bit soggy.
Note: Do not discard the onion juice, It will be mixed with melted butter to baste the burgers when they are on the grill.
2. Place the dried grated onions into a large mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, soy sauce, sumac, pepper, salt, celery seeds, egg, and bread crumbs.
Tip: Let this mixture rest for 10 minutes. This gives the bread crumbs time to hydrate and form a panade.
3. Mix in the beef and lamb into the onion mixture.
4. Form the meat into patties and set them on a plate.
Tip: Many people or light eaters—little patties, few people or big eaters—big patties.
Note: (Optional) I did not want my patties sticking to the plate when I was putting them on the grill, so I put a thin layer of panko on the plate.
5. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 30 minutes.
Tip: This gives the patties time to firm up, making it less likely that they will fall apart as you grill them.
6. Heat your grill and barbecue the burgers directly over the high heat.
Note: Mix the reserved onion juice with the melted butter and baste the burgers, after they have gotten a good set of sear marks and they are beginning to brown well.
7. Serve the burgers with buns and the rest of your condiments, for your diners to doctor their’s to their liking.