Moussaka Burgers

Yes, moussaka may be a bit cliche, if you will. For more than a few people it is the mascot of Greek cuisine. And sure, Anthony Bourdain may have slammed moussaka during his Greek Islands episode of No Reservations a couple of years ago–if I recall correctly he likened “the casserole” to a “brick”–but it’s still one of my favorite foods (and of course my mom’s version has a special place in my heart). But this post has nothing to do with the classic Greek Moussaka. We’re talking burgers here instead. 

Why eat a plain old cheeseburger when you can do absolutely anything your heart desires with a finely grilled patty of beef? Pack it with olives, top it with vegetables, smother it in onions … yes, yes, the possibilities are endless. And here’s one more possibility: a juicy round of ground beef flavored with allspice and onion that’s topped with a savory tomato/barbecue sauce with hints of cinnamon, perfectly grilled slices of eggplant and a cool dollop of whipped yogurt/Feta.

Go on, light those charcoals, take out some ground meat and go wild people … take your burgers where they’ve never gone before! Take them on a little trip to Greece …  

Moussaka Burgers
(I’m not giving specific amounts because I used 5.5 lbs of ground beef for the burgers I made for our Foodbuzz 24×24 event … use this list of ingredients as a rough guideline and add as little or as much as you like)

For the Burgers:
Ground Beef
Grated onion
Splash of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead the mixture briefly until combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Form the beef mixture into large patties, pressing the center with your thumb so that they’ll cook more evenly. Grill as desired then serve on bread/bun of your choice and top with the condiments below.

For the Greek-Spiced BBQ Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
14 oz. canned or fresh chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil then saute the onion until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice, bay leaf and crushed red pepper and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and ketchup and bring to a simmer. Stir in the sugar, salt and ground black pepper, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until thickened, at least 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. If not being used immediately, the barbecue sauce can be made then refrigerated (covered tightly) for a week to 10 days.

For the Whipped Yogurt/Feta:
1 cup thick Greek yogurt
1 cup crumbled Feta, mashed with a fork
Dash of cayenne pepper

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Adjust seasonings as necessary and add a splash of olive oil if too thick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Grilled Eggplant:
1 large eggplant
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash eggplant and cut vertically in half. Continue slicing each half vertically into thin, long slices. Brush each eggplant slice with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender, soft and browned well.

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14 Responses to “Moussaka Burgers”

  1. Maria, this is such a beautiful and original creation! Love, love, love this!

  2. Love the moussaka and this original burger. Wish I could have come to your Food Buzz 24 trapezi.

  3. i’m totally diggin’ this burger with the eggplant and bbq sauce. wow!! talk about my favorite flavors in a burger. once my eggplant is ready to harvest from the garden, i’m gonna grill me this moussaka burger!

  4. This is brilliant, Maria!

  5. Efthimia says:

    Absolutely brilliant and a terrific idea for my boyfriend who loves eggplants. Thank you so much!

  6. Ivy says:

    Your burgers are making me hungry.

  7. Peter says:

    Maria, a well-thought out burger recipe, the play on Moussaka, the BBQ sauce and the grilled eggplant on the burger all make this a special recipe.

  8. Joan Nova says:

    wow, you even took the theme/flavor into the bbq sauce…great recipe.

  9. Sugar Buzz says:

    Maria I’ve just found you from the comment you left at my blog!
    I love this kind of burger!

  10. Rosa says:

    That is a wonderful idea! Those look yummy!



  11. Those look great. What a fun idea!

  12. maria says:

    this really did look a winner in the foodbuzz photos of your previous post – nice work

  13. Maria, I love this combination! :)

  14. elly says:

    Too funny, Maria – the other day I was thinking of making a “kima” burger with all the flavors of Greek meatsauce and I come here and you have pretty much done it, and added some other delicious ingredients too. Yum!

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