Lower East Side Burgers

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Hard to pronounce yet easy to drink, this wine combines lychee fruit and white peach flavors with a hint of spice.

Oy!This burger attempts to capture my experience of growing up Jewish. A lot of traditional ingredients are included in my burger. When you taste it, it’ll take you right back to bubbe’s (grandma) dinner table and all the tastes and smells that are associated with the burger. The burger is a unique mix of brisket, pastrami, and sirloin and the patty is topped with Emmenthal cheese and Charoset (an apple/walnut/honey mixture). Served on raisin challah smeared with cream cheese, this burger is a real treat for Jews and gentiles alike.


2 small Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 pound lean brisket, chopped
1/3 pound pastrami, chopped
1 1/3 pounds ground sirloin
1/2 cup matzah meal
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 thick slices Emmenthal cheese
12 very thick slices raisin challah, cut into a bun-sized shape
6 ounces cream cheese with chives


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

In order to make the charoset, place the apple, walnuts, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl; mix until well combined. Set aside.

In order to make the patties, place brisket and pastrami in the bowl of food processor; process until ground. Place the ground brisket & pastrami, sirloin, matzah meal, celery salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last 3 minutes of grilling, place a slice of Emmenthal cheese on each patty. Also, during the last few minutes of grilling, place the slices of challah, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a cheese-topped patty; top with a generous amount of charoset. Add the bun tops.

Makes 6 burgers.