Shawerma Burger with Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

America prides itself on its wonderfully diverse population. Houston also prides itself on its eclectic mix. We have the second highest concentration of Lebanese people outside of Lebanon which is why I’m contributing this Shawerma Burger. But, most importantly, Houston is a proud, American city. So, how can you get any more American than Houston?!


Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce):
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and pealed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg white
1 cup canola oil
Spice blend:
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 ½ pounds fresh ground beef (80/20)
½ pound fresh ground lamb
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons spice blend
6 Kaiser rolls
18 dill pickle chips
2 large tomatoes, sliced thinly
2 cups finely shredded cabbage


With a stick blender, puree garlic, salt and lemon juice in a high-sided container until smooth. Add egg white to the puree and blend until fully mixed. With the stick blender running, slowly add oil into the mixture in a thin stream. The mixture will start to thicken. Continue to add oil until the mixture becomes as thick as mayonnaise. You may not use all of the oil. This is okay. Refrigerate until ready to use. Please note that the Toum will thicken a little as it chills.
Spice blend:
Blend all spices thoroughly and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground lamb, salt, garlic and the 2 tablespoons of the spice blend. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
Split the Kaiser rolls. On a grill set to medium heat, lightly toast the inside of the rolls.
Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions (approximately 5 ounces). On parchment or wax paper, form portioned meat into patties roughly the size of your Kaiser rolls, being careful not to compact the meat too tightly.
On the grill set to medium heat, grill the burgers for 4 minutes on both sides or until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 165°.
While the burgers are grilling, apply Toum to both sides of each Kaiser roll. Place 3 pickle slices on the bottom of each roll. When the burgers are done, place one burger patty onto each of the pickled roll bottoms followed by a few tomato slices, some shredded cabbage and finish each burger with the top of its roll.