Balkan Burger

You don’t have to know how to pronounce it to enjoy eating it.

Pljeskavica.

If this long, meandering string of letters makes you stutter, just clap your hands, because that’s what Pljeskavica means – the sound of hands clapping as the “Balkan burger” patties are formed.

And this is not just a big word. This is big food.

This is the original “super-size.” Not only are the patties large enough to cover a small plate, they contain as many as 6 cuts of meat from three different animals.  Everyone has their variation and you’ll typically find beef, lamb, and pork (for non-Muslims) in every bite. The entire animal is fair game.

You can’t help but smile as your mouth stretches open with every bite.

While each region (country, town, family, person!) has their own variation, most chow down on pljeskavica with a knife and fork. More recently, tucking the patty inside lepina, or thick pita bread with onion and tomato, is gaining popularity. Either way, don’t forget to slather each bite with roasted ajvar spread!

For more information, check out this fantastic article all about the Balkan burger in the NY Times.

Makes 6 large burgers or 8 standard

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork sausage
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 a small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 tsp paprika
salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fizzy water

Standard Accompaniments: tomato, onion, ajvar, pita bread

Method:

First of all, fly to Montenegro and find a happy place to make your burgers. This will do just fine. I’ll save you a spot, if you’d like to join me…

St George Island (Ostrvo Sveti Đorđe), in Kotor Bay, Montenegro. Photo by Brian Dell.

Next, combine the three meats (I love the added extra spicy oomph that comes with using ground pork sausage, instead of just plain ground pork) Use your hands to mix in the onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and bubbly water.

Now to lighten things up…

Just like laughter helps lighten the mood, bubbly water helps lighten the Balkan Burger’s texture. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Meanwhile, enjoy sipping the rest of you drink while watching scenes from Montenegro, the focus of this week’s Global Table learning. When your tummy rumbles so that you can’t wait another moment, cook the patties on a hot grill (3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, or to desired doneness). Serve with a happy mountain of sliced tomatoes, onions, ajvar and soft pita bread (unless you can find the more traditional lepina). This is all kinds of good.

Share with a smile, a friend, a hunger for happiness.

Will you be grilling this weekend?

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You don’t have to know how to pronounce it to enjoy eating it. Pljeskavica. If this long, meandering string of letters makes you stutter, just clap your hands, because that’s what Pljeskavica means – the sound of hands clapping as the “Balkan burger” patties are formed. And this is not just a big word. This is big food. This is the original “super-size.” Not only are the patties large enough to cover a small plate, they contain as many as 6 cuts of meat from three different animals. Everyone has their variation and you’ll typically find beef, lamb, and pork (for non-Muslims) in every bite. The entire animal is fair game. You can’t help but smile as your mouth stretches open with every bite. While each region (country, town, family, person!) has their own variation, most chow down on pljeskavica with a knife and fork. More recently, tucking the patty inside lepina, or thick pita bread with onion and tomato, is gaining popularity. Either way, don’t forget to slather each bite with roasted ajvar spread!Balkan Burger
Servings Prep Time
6-8people 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6-8minutes 2-8hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8people 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
6-8minutes 2-8hours
Ingredients
Accompaniments
Instructions
  1. Next, combine the three meats (I love the added extra spicy oomph that comes with using ground pork sausage, instead of just plain ground pork)
  2. Use your hands to mix in the onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and bubbly water. Just like laughter helps lighten the mood, bubbly water helps lighten the Balkan Burger’s texture. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
  3. Cook the patties on a hot grill (3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, or to desired doneness).
  4. Serve with a happy mountain of sliced tomatoes, onions, ajvar and soft pita bread (unless you can find the more traditional lepina).
Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only. This recipe and hundreds more from around the world may be found at www.GlobalTableAdventure.com.

13 Comments

  1. mom says

    OOO that looks sooo gooood….I would substitute Tuna for the pork…
    this weekend I am ready for a real meal…

    • Sasha Martin says

      Sounds like it’s time for you to go to Legal Seafood :)

    • Sasha Martin says

      Good catch, Lisa. Just updated the recipe – it should be 1/4 cup. Happy grilling :)

  2. Vicky says

    Yum! Sounds delish. I thought the bubbly water was interesting. Do you know why bubbly water?

  3. Christina says

    I want to make this soon. Here in Florida, we can grill year-round, while y’all are buried in snow in the Sooner state. :) I think I will make it with beef, lamb, & veal.

    I am absolutely loving your mini beaker holding the ajvar. Where did you get it?

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thanks Christina, I got that at an estate sale nearby… not sure what it’s from…

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