Killer Burgers

Planning on burgs for Labour Day? These ones are a little extra effort, but totally worth it!! They were inspired by a lamb sausage recipe from The Chef’s Table: Restaurant-Inspired Recipes for the Home Chef, by Lucy Waverman, James Chatto and Tony Aspler (ISBN 0-679-31039-8). These patties are so tasty I’ve literally been dreaming about them! Make the most of what’s left of summer and throw some on the grill this long weekend! Makes 6, 5 1/2-oz patties.

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) finely chopped white onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) garam masala
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 lb (908 g) ground chicken
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) cracked black peppercorns
  • ½ (125 ml) cup chopped fresh cilantro

The “extra effort” here is in caramelizing the onions. If you’ve never done this before, it’s definitely worth the babysitting required!!

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed pan (I like my cast iron frying pan for this process, but a stainless pan will certainly do). Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes soft and opaque. Continue to cook until you can just detect the slightest hint of browning (i.e., do not walk away for any period of time!) and immediately turn the heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions develop a lovely, caramel colour. Over this period of time, the onions will reduce considerably.

Add the next six ingredients and cook very gently for another 2-3 minutes, or just until the mixture is super-fragrant. If your pan is too hot, remove from the heat but allow to continue cooking. Remove the mixture to a bowl to cool. You can fan, stir or refrigerate the onions, if you’re at all short on time.

Once the onion mixture is cool, add the lamb, beaten eggs, salt, pepper and cilantro. Mix thoroughly (with your hands, if you’re not squeamish; it’s more efficient). Form into six patties.

Heat the barbeque to medium. Cook the patties for approximately 5 minutes a side, until thoroughly cooked.

Serve on whole wheat or multigrain buns, with the condiments of your choice. These are awesome with brie, if you like cheeseburgers!!


The caramelization process will take at least half an hour, depending on your stove (or, in our case, the side burner on your barbeque!). You do need to pay close attention, but you can work on your accompaniments while you’re there in the kitchen.

Garam masala and Chinese five spice are easily available at Asian markets. They do add to the flavour, but if you can’t find them, just omit and enjoy the other flavours.

I love burgers of any kind. These are great with chicken, but I’ve tried this recipe with ground beef, turkey, venison, elk and lamb. They all work out to be completely delicious, so don’t hesitate to choose your own favourite!

Barbeques vary widely in heat ranges, so use your judgement with regard to doneness. For chicken or turkey burgers, I recommend using a thermometer: cook to a minimum of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, remove to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. This allows poultry to reach its final (safe!) temperature of 82 degrees.


~ One of Seven


  1. mmmm…these look good! Funny, we’re making burgers today, using some new PC burger seasoning we picked up yesterday.


  1. [...] this with FAB’s Killer Burgers.  It’s also fantastic with a nice grilled steak finished with balsamic and rosemary, or pork [...]

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