Really Big Bosnian Burgers

Pljeskavica

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes 4 Burgers; Serves

    4

Appears in

Sure, there are larger burgers in the record books—monstrosities like the 8, 266 pound hamburger created at the Burger Fest in Seymour, Wisconsin, on August 4, 2001. But when it comes to the largest burger served day in and day out to ordinary folks, the prize goes to pljeskavica, a grilled beef and veal patty from the Eastern European region once known as Yugoslavia. Every new country in this ancient land of grilling and religious tension has a version, but even hard-liners of opposing political camps will go out of their way to eat a pljeskavica made by a Bosnian grill master. Traditionally, the burger is eaten with a knife and fork and with bread on the side, but you can certainly serve it on a pita bread as a sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces ground beef, ideally chuck and with a fat content of 15 to 20 percent
  • 12 ounces ground veal, or more ground beef
  • ½ medium-size onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for a hotter pljeskavica leave the seeds in), or 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • teaspoons Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled pita bread, for serving
  • Tomato slices (optional), for serving
  • Lemon wedges (optional), for serving

Method

Advance Preparation

minutes to 1 hour for refrigerating the meat

  1. Place the beef, veal, onion, garlic, serrano pepper(s), parsley, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl and knead them gently with your hands until thoroughly blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the beef mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions and place these on a metal baking sheet. Mold each portion into a large flat disk shaped like a pita bread. Each pljeskavica should be 6 to 8 inches across and ¼ inch thick.
  3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
  4. When ready to cook, brush and thoroughly oil the grill grate. Loosen the pljeskavicas from the baking sheet by sliding a slender metal spatula or carving knife under them and then carefully transfer them to the hot grill grate. Grill the pljeskavicas until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium to medium-well, using a wide spatula to turn them. (Bosnians prefer their grilled meat medium to medium-well done.)
  5. Transfer the grilled pljeskavicas to a platter or plates and serve them at once with pitas, tomato slices, and lemon wedges, if desired.

How to Make Really Big Bosnian Burgers

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