Food & Dining

Go rogue with these non-beef burgers for the Fourth of July

These take a little more effort than just tossing them on the grill, but try changing up your July 4 cookout with (from left) an Aussie lamb burger, a turkey burger or a tuna burger.
These take a little more effort than just tossing them on the grill, but try changing up your July 4 cookout with (from left) an Aussie lamb burger, a turkey burger or a tuna burger.

When it comes to Fourth of July food, it's lamb burgers, not beef, that will be on chef Aaron Brooks' grill at the Edge Steak & Bar in downtown Miami. And when it comes to the lamb's origin, Brooks has no qualms proclaiming his preference.

"Being an Aussie, some would say I'm pretty biased to Australian lamb," he said. "It does have a special place in my heart, and every time I get to eat or work with it, I am reminded of home."

Nostalgia aside, Brooks said he finds the flavor and quality of Australian lamb to be superior to domestic or New Zealand versions.

"The racks, for example ... so big, clean and consistent with just the right amount of marbling," he said. "I joked with someone that the Aussie lamb I'm getting here in the states is better than the stuff I grew up with."

And ground lamb, Brooks said, makes a great grilling choice.

"I particularly love the char you get when the fat renders over the grill, creating a fantastic smoky flavor," he said.

In the spirit of changing things up this holiday weekend or the next time you're grilling, we've compiled recipes for three non-beef burgers from South Florida restaurants.

Aussie lamb burger

  • Twelve ounces ground Australian lamb.

  • Two cloves garlic, crushed.

  • One small onion, finely diced.

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.

  • Two tablespoons olive oil.

  • Two slices cheddar cheese.

  • Four bacon strips.

  • Two eggs.

  • Two hamburger buns, split and toasted.

  • Butter.

  • Two lettuce leaves.

  • One tomato, sliced.

  • Four slices pickled beets.

  • Two pineapple rings.

  • Ketchup.

Combine lamb, garlic, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using clean hands, massage the burger mix until combined. Shape the mixture into two patties, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook the burger patties for three minutes on each side or until almost cooked through. Transfer patties to a baking sheet and top each with a slice of cheese. Place in the oven for three to five minutes or until cheese melts.

Meanwhile, cook bacon and eggs in frying pans. To assemble the burger, spread the hamburger bun base with butter then layer lettuce, tomato, beets, lamb patty, pineapple, ketchup, bacon and egg. Cover with bun tops. Makes two.

Per serving: 509 calories (32 percent from fat), 23 g fat (9 g saturated), 346 mg cholesterol, 40 g protein, 34 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 1170 mg sodium.

Source: Meat & Livestock Australia.

Turkey burger

  • Eight ounces ground turkey breast.

  • One ounce dried apricots.

  • Quarter cup thinly sliced onion.

  • One clove garlic, sliced.

  • Half a teaspoon chopped parsley.

  • Half a teaspoon chopped sage.

  • Quarter teaspoon fennel seed.

  • Quarter teaspoon cumin seed.

  • Quarter teaspoon dried oregano.

  • One teaspoon coriander seed.

  • One teaspoon lavender flower.

  • One ounce pepper jack cheese.

  • One teaspoon onion powder.

  • One ounce canola oil.

  • Salt and pepper.

  • Two tablespoons champagne vinegar.

  • Quarter teaspoon chipotle in adobo.

  • Quarter teaspoon harissa.

  • Five tablespoons mayonnaise.

  • One avocado.

  • One Fresno chile, finely diced.

  • One jalapeno, finely diced.

  • One scallion, thinly sliced.

  • Half bunch cilantro, chopped.

  • Quarter cup fresh lime juice.

  • One brioche bun.

  • Two slices jack cheese.

  • Handful of arugula.

  • One pickle spear

  • One pepperoncini.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first 13 ingredients (through the onion powder), then pass through a meat grinder and form into a patty. Heat oil in a small saute pan. Season turkey patty with salt and pepper and add to pan, cooking for two minutes per side. Finish turkey burger in a 350-degree oven for five more minutes, until cooked through.

In a small bowl, use a fork or whisk to blend together champagne vinegar, chipotle, harissa and mayonnaise; set aside. In a small bowl, make a quick guacamole by mashing the avocado, peppers, scallion and cilantro with lime juice; set aside.

Toast the bun and add harissa aioli to the top and bottom. Add cheese to the turkey burger and cook for another minute, until melted. Place turkey burger on bottom bun, top with guacamole, arugula and top half of bun. Skewer pickle and pepperoncini for garnish. Makes one.

Per serving: 1,268 calories (55 percent from fat), 77.0 g fat (19 g saturated, 26 g monounsaturated), 230 mg cholesterol, 80 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate, 5.2 g fiber, 1595 mg sodium.

Source: Michael Mina 74 in Miami.

Tuna burger

  • Eight ounces fresh ahi tuna.

  • Two ounces Asian-style cole slaw.

  • Half an avocado, thinly sliced.

  • One tomato slice.

  • One brioche bun.

Shape tuna into a bun, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sear on a hot skillet about a minute per side, long enough to form a crust on the outside and leaving the inside rare. Toast bun, then place slaw, tomato and avocado on bottom half before topping with tuna and top bun. Makes 1.

Per serving: 658 calories (30 percent from fat), 21.7 g fat (4.1 g saturated, 11.3 g monounsaturated), 152 mg cholesterol, 64 g protein, 49 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 448 mg sodium.

Source: Rok:Brgr in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.