Prep 45 mins
Cook 10 mins
Build a Better Burger Contest, 1994 first prize winner, Nancy Strande, Snohomish, Washington.
Hot Tomato Jam
- 4 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
- 1 1⁄3 lbs freshly ground lamb
- 2 tablespoons peppercorn blend, very coarsely ground (five-peppercorn blend)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1⁄4 cup merlot
- olive oil
- 4 hamburger buns, split
- 4 red leaf lettuce leaves
- Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
- Make the jam: combine tomatoes, sugar, ginger, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of pepper sauce in a flame-proof nonreactive saucepan.
- Place pan on the grill rack; bring mixture to a slow simmer.
- Continue simmering, stirring occasionally and moving on and off the heat as necessary, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
- Move the pan to the coolest part of the rack and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Taste; add remaining pepper sauce to taste.
- Continue cooking until mixture reaches a jam-like consistency, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Stir the basil into the cooled mixture and season to taste with salt; set aside.
- Make the patties: combine the lamb, peppercorn blend, garlic, sesame oil, and Merlot; season to taste with salt.
- Handle the meat as little as possible, but combine mixture well.
- Divide mixture into 4 equal portions; form into patties to fit the buns.
- Brush grill rack with olive oil; place patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference—4 minutes on each side for med-rare.
- During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to lightly toast.
- Assemble burgers: spread the cut sides of buns with tomato jam; on each bun bottom, place a lettuce leaf and a patty; add bun tops and serve.