Food

Slow-cooked lamb burgers with fresh pineapple salsa to start grilling season off sooo so right

If DJ BBQ’s recipe doesn’t single-handedly will summer into being, we don’t know what will.

If DJ BBQ’s recipe doesn’t single-handedly will summer into being, we don’t know what will

(Credit: David Loftus)

It’s no secret that we like to spread our burger love around — we’ll give it up for the classic “smash” kind, then turn around and try something plant-based the very next day — but this recipe from Christian “DJ BBQ” Stevenson’s new cookbook The Burger Book is one we already know we’ll want to remake again and again all summer. Starting with lamb ribs that are slow-cooked for several hours, Stevenson completes the dish with a fresh, tangy pineapple salsa to balance out all that richness. The recipe also comes with cooking instructions for the BBQ and the oven, so you can still get your fill in the cooler months when grilling season is long gone.

Lamb Rib Burger with Pineapple Salsa

By Christian “DJ BBQ” Stevenson

I could marry this burger if it was legal! Seriously, this is the best-tasting meat ever and that’s because of the lamb fat that surrounds it. A couple of years ago, the food critic Giles Coren and I travelled to Brazil on the Uruguay border to see where the gauchos raise the pure Black Angus cattle for the European beef market. Before we went cattle herding, we had coffee in the farmhouse. In front of the open hearth there were four long skewers with lamb ribs and belly slow cooking, and a huge pool of lamb fat collecting on the stone floor. I wanted to dive straight into that pool of tastiness. The gaucho slid the meat onto a chopping board and we ate and ate and smiled and ate some more. Up there in the top 10 best things I’ve ever tasted. Here’s my version of that delicious lamb, but in a burger. Way easier to eat!

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of lamb ribs with breast attached
  • Chilli flakes (crushed chili pepper)
  • 4 soft white buns
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Pineapple Salsa:

  • 1 pineapple, cut into steaks
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • Bunch of coriander (cilantro), chopped (stalks and all)
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Preparation

Get your lamb ribs out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to cook. Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7). If you’re using the outdoor grill, get it up to the same temperature — nice and hot! Lightly score the lamb fat with a sharp knife, and season the joint with salt and chilli flakes.

Roast your lamb straight on a rack in the oven or right on the grill over direct heat, so the fat drips down and doesn’t suffocate the meat. Cook for 20 minutes, then drop the heat to 135°C (275°F/ gas mark 1). You’ll need to cover with foil for both indoors and outdoors (put the lid on outdoors, too). Slow-cook for another 1½ hours.

While the lamb is cooking, get the pineapple salsa made. You need a high heat, so if you’re cooking outside, do it in the first 20 minutes of the lamb cook. Inside, use a griddle pan in your own time. Grill the pineapple steaks until you have a nice char. Set them aside to cool, then dice.

Chuck the chopped pineapple into a bowl with all the other salsa ingredients, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside for the main event.

After 1½ hours, remove the foil and lid, and see where you are at with the lamb cook. The meat should be pulling away from the bones and feel quite tender to the touch.

Continue cooking without foil until you’ve got a nice crisp on the outside. That crunchy savoury more-ish lamb fat will be the single best taste you’ll have had since the first time you had a pork scratching in a sunny beer garden with a lovely pint of pilsner.

Let the lamb ribs rest for 5 minutes but not much longer — you do not want to bite into lukewarm or cold fat, it needs to be hot and crispy. Remove all the bones and slice the lamb ribs into bite-size morsels of pure lamb fat heaven. Oh gos, I wanna cook this right now. So jealous of your burger!

Toast your buns (griddle pan or direct heat) and begin the build. If you wanna go a bit gnarly, dip the soft insides of the bun halves into the lamb fat before toasting. Naughty deliciousness!

Here’s the build: bottom bun, lamb rib meat, salsa, love — but don’t get lost in your creation, you still need to put the top bun on and eat! — top bun, eat!

Yield: Makes 4 burgers


Excerpted from The Burger Book: Banging Burgers, Sides and Sauces to Cook Indoors and Out by DJ BBQ. Recipes Copyright © 2019. Excerpted by permission of Quadrille. All rights reserved.

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