Charcoal Recipies

Charcoal-Grilled Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches With Tzatziki Sauce. A Recipe for 4


Since the yogurt and cucumbers in the Tzatziki Sauce need to drain for 30 minutes, start making the sauce before the patties. Although we prefer the richness of plain whole milk yogurt, low-fat yogurt can be substituted. Greek yogurt can also be substituted, but use 1/2 cup and skip the step of draining. While we didn’t like the flavor of dried mint, dried dill may be used in place of fresh, but reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon. For the patties, the test kitchen prefers the flavor of fresh oregano, but 1 teaspoon of dried can be substituted. If using pocketless pitas (see illustrations below for folding instructions), do not cut top quarters off pocketless pitas; instead, use a portion of a fifth pita to create pita piecess in step 5. The patties can be prepared through step 5 and refrigerated for up to a day or frozen before cooking as directed in step 6 (frozen patties should be thawed in refrigerator prior to cooking). This recipe can be doubled.


For Tzatziki Sauce
1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
3/8teaspoon table salt
1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves or dill
Vegetable oil for cooking grate

For Lamb Patties
4 (8-inch) pita breads (see note above)
1/2 small onion, chopped coarse (about 1/3 cup)
4teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2teaspoon table salt
1/4teaspoon ground black pepper
1tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1pound ground lamb

1 large tomato, sliced thin
2cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1. For the Tzatziki Sauce: Line fine-mesh strainer set over deep container or bowl with 3 paper coffee filters or triple layer of paper towels. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice in colander set over bowl and let stand 30 minutes.
3. Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, and mint in clean bowl.
4. For the Patties: About 20 minutes before grilling, light large chimney starter filled 3/4 full with charcoal (4 1/2 quarts, or about 75 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, making sure they are in even layer, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
5. Cut top quarter off each pita bread. Tear one quarter into 1-inch pieces, and discard remaining three top quarters. (You should have about 1/4 cup pita pieces.) Process onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and pita bread pieces in food processor until smooth paste forms, scraping down sides of workbowl as necessary, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl; add lamb and gently mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 4 equal pieces and roll into logs. Gently flatten logs into rectangular patties, about 1/2 inch thick, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 7 inches long.
6. Place patties on hotter side of grill. Cook, turning once using spatula, until well browned and crust forms on each side, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer patties to plate. While patties rest, place pita in single layer on hotter side of grill. Cook, turning once, until each pita is thoroughly warmed and faint grill marks appear, 30 to 40 seconds. Remove pita from grill and wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
7. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup Tzatziki Sauce inside each pita. Put 1 patty in each pita and top with tomato slices, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, and 2 tablespoons feta. Serve immediately.