Chermoula Lamb Burgers

Chermoula is a delicious Moroccan marinade for fish that is lemony and herbaceous. We add an extra boost of paprika that makes this sauce the perfect flavor punch for ground lamb. Topped with ripe summer tomatoes and quickly marinated “pickles,” these burgers are the perfect treat for a hot summer day.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6
Image of Chermoula Lamb Burgers


For the Quickly Marinated Cucumbers

  • 1 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced ¼-inch-thick

For the Chermoula

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crystalized ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped


For the Burgers

  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup chermoula (recipe included)
  • 1/4 cup to ½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs (optional)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 6 soft burger buns, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Quickly marinated cucumber (recipe included)

To make the “pickles,” combine the first five ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the sliced cucumber in a non-reactive bowl. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

To make the chermoula, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined but still with quite a bit of texture. This will yield ¾ cup. Let the chermoula sit at room temperature for about an hour to let the flavors develop.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a hot fire (about 600°F). A cooler zone will also be needed for toasting the buns.

Mix ½ cup of chermoula into the ground lamb. Work the sauce into the meat by hand. Test form a patty. If the mixture is too “loose” to hold together on the grill, mix in some bread crumbs. Divide the mixture into six equal parts and form 6 patties. Recess the centers of the patties so that when they puff up on the grill they will turn out flat. Season the patties with salt and pepper. (I normally recommend brushing the outside of burger patties with olive oil before grilling, but these patties have a lot of olive oil already mixed in so it is not necessary to add more. See our Guide to Grilling the Perfect Burger)

Brush the cut side of the buns with olive oil and season with salt.

Grill the burgers over the hottest part of the fire for about 4 minutes. Turn them over and brush the tops with the remaining chermoula. Continue cooking, until medium-well (160°F internal temperature) with a nice crust on the outside, about 4 minutes more.

Lightly toast the buns on a cooler part of the grill or on the warming rack.

Serve the burgers on the buns with lettuce, tomato and your homemade pickles on the side.

Note: These burgers have the best flavor when cooked over a charcoal fire.