Romanian Mititei Burgers
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup beef stock
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 pounds freshly ground chuck
1/2 pound freshly ground pork
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 romaine lettuce leaves cut in half
6 (1/4-inch-thick) large tomato slices
6 good-quality large hamburger buns, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
To make the patties, in a large bowl combine the garlic, water, beef stock, salt, black pepper, dried thyme, dried basil, baking soda, ground chuck, and ground pork, handling as little as possible. Keeping your hands a bit wet with a small bowl of water while you make the patties so the meat will not stick to your hands, shape into 6 equal patties slightly larger than the buns. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the center of the rack directly over the heat source and cook, turning every 3 minutes until done to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F using an instant-read thermometer and inserting it into the center of the patty. Be sure to wash the thermometer after each trial. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the Dijon mustard over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a grilled patty, followed by half of a romaine leaf, tomato slice, half of a romaine leaf, add the top bun and serve immediately.