“Who Loves Ya’, Baby!” Burger

Pairs well with:


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

This burger is named in honor of Telly Salvalas of Kojak fame and his signature tag line.It is reminiscent of the Greek-American neighborhood in Astoria, NY near where I lived for many years. The flavors and ingredients of this burger creation perfectly reflect the food culture of that neighborhood.



1/2 cup peeled, seeded, finely chopped cucumber

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic

10 oz. plain 2% Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1-2 drops Lea & Perrins Worcestershire

1 drop Tabasco


5 oz. fresh spinach

3/4 cup diced onion, 1/4″ dice

1/2 Tbsp. finely diced garlic

1/2 Tbsp. peeled and finely diced fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 drops Lea & Perrins Worcestershire

1 drop Tabasco

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil


30 oz. 93% lean ground beef

6 oz. 85% lean ground lamb

2 1/4 cups chopped onion, 1/4″ chop

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

5/8 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

5/8 tsp. salt

5/8 tsp. ground black pepper


6 open pita pockets, 6″ diameter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Approximately 6 Tbsp. finely sliced red onions


1) TZATZIKI SAUCE: Place chopped cucumber in fine sieve over bowl for about 10 minutes to remove as much water as possible. Discard liquid.

2) In small bowl, combine drained cucumber with all remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Set aside.

3) SPINACH: Stem spinach and wash very well, disposing of stems. Drain very well in salad spinner. Tear leaves into 1×1″ pieces. Set aside.

4) Preheat a 5-quart pot on hot grill. Add oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds. Add onions, stirring to coat with oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes until partially translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes more. Stir to mix well.

5) Add spinach. Stir constantly from bottom until spinach just begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook or spinach mixture will become too liquidy. Add olives, crumbled feta, pepper, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Stir one minute more until cheese just begins to melt. Remove from heat. Set aside.

6) BURGERS: In medium bowl, combine all burger ingredients. Mix with hands until well blended. Form into 6 patties, approximately 4-5″ in diameter.

7) Mound 2 quarts charcoal briquets over electric charcoal starter in 24″ grill. Heat with electric starter for 8 minutes. Remove starter and allow all briquets to turn white and very hot, approximately 20 minutes. Spread briquets out evenly.

8) Place burgers on grill 4″ above hot coals and close lid. Cook until well browned on one side, approximately 6 minutes. Turn burgers and cook approximately 6 minutes more or until internal temperature is about 130° for medium rare.

9) While burgers are cooking, lightly brush both sides of each pita pocket with olive oil. Heat on edge of grill away from direct heat, approximately 30 seconds per side.

10) TO ASSEMBLE: Spread tzazkiki sauce inside the top and bottom of each heated pita pocket. Place a burger into each pita. Top each burger with 1/6 of the spinach mixture and 1 Tbsp. of the finely sliced red onion.