Great Grillers Are On The Lamb

For barbecues with a difference, more and more tailgaters are looking to lamb.

Whether it's everyday meals or a special occasion, American Lamb offers a new twist on favorite cooking styles. Enhanced by marinades, rubs, spices and herbs, lamb can add exciting versatility to many recipes.

This easy grilling recipe belies its exotic heritage. Reminiscent of spicy Merguez sausages popular in North Africa, France and Belgium, Merguez Lamb Burgers combine the rich flavor of American Lamb with the zesty blend of sweet paprika, cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Spiked with a hint of cayenne pepper, the burger's spicy taste is complemented by a cool minted yogurt sauce and sliced seedless cucumbers.

So don your school colors, post the pennants, spread the blanket and welcome fall with a memorable party that's extra special.

Merguez Lamb Burgers

6 servings

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

For the burgers:

2 pounds ground American Lamb

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon salt

For the yogurt sauce:

1 cup plain yogurt

4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

6 hamburger buns

12 thin slices seedless cucumber

12 thin slices tomato

In a large bowl, combine lamb, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and salt until evenly mixed. Divide mixture into patties and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, mint and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat gas or charcoal grill. When it is thoroughly heated, or when the coals are covered in gray ash, place the burgers on the grill. Cook 6 minutes per side or until desired doneness is achieved. Toast hamburger buns on grill before placing 2 slices of tomato and 2 slices of cucumber on each of the 6 bottom buns. Top with a Merguez burger and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Serve immediately.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
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