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Marinated Greek Burger

Marinated Greek burger
Kevin Weeks for NPR /

I started with marinated chuck that I then ground, but the burger wouldn't hold together — too moist. I ended up adding the marinade ingredients (at a fraction of marinade quantities) to already-ground beef and then letting it age for a few hours in the refrigerator. The thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion and tzatziki really enhance the flavors. Serve on a Kaiser roll.

Makes 4 servings


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

12 juniper berries, crushed then finely chopped*

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh oregano

1 large clove garlic, crushed

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup Greek-style yogurt**

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Thoroughly mix together all of the burger ingredients, form into patties, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and as long as 24 hours to allow flavors to meld.

Mix together all of the tzatziki ingredients and chill.

Grill burgers over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or cook in a skillet or on a griddle, lightly brushed with oil if it's not non-stick, over medium-high heat for the same amount of time. Serve on a bun with tzatziki sauce, thinly sliced cucumbers, and red onion.

*Juniper berries are the berries from a relative of the juniper shrubs used in landscaping. They have a delicious resinous flavor and can be found at upscale markets. If you can't find them, increase the minced rosemary to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

**Greek yogurt is thicker than most commercial yogurt. If you can't find it, drain regular plain yogurt in a couple of folds of cheesecloth in a sieve over a bowl for 6 hours.

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