Forget Regret – Za’atar and Sumac Pork Burgers.

All good things must come to an end, they say. All good things except an Irish summer, it seems. We have had a few weeks of great sunny weather and temperatures in the mid 20s. The last time this happened, I was a small youth with big ambitions. Now, I’m a small old fella with, thankfully only small regrets. I’ll tell you about some of them another time. Don’t add these Za’atar and Sumac Pork Burgers to your regret list. Give them a go on your barbecue. You will not regret it.

When I make burgers, I like to grind my own meat. This allows me to control the real level of fat in the burger (I like more than most). This has an influence on the other aromatic and spice ingredients too. The spice mix here has a bit of a north African feel to it. Don’t let that put you off. These are a simple preparation and add a nice bit of difference to the barbecue line-up, particularly if you have been working overtime at the grill over an extended summer.

I used my trusty Kenwood for this. It has few regrets over a long life.


  • 1 kilo of lean pork shoulder
  • 350 grammes of pork fat
  • 1 tablespoon of Za’atar spice mix (get a good one)
  • 2 teaspoons of Sumac spice (get a good one too)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato purée
  • Grind the pork and fat together. Add everything else except the Za’atar spice mixture.

The pork and fat mixture works so well. Lots of flavour.

Get a glove on and mix until consistent. Don’t overwork it or it will become compacted and not very nice.

Shape it into patties. I used a fancy rice shaper thing that I bought a while ago. It works great.

Fancy work with a rice former. It gives form and helps with the density too.

Sprinkle the patties with the  Za’atar spice. Separate them with greaseproof paper and pop them into the fridge for half an hour. This prevents them falling apart on the grill. You would have one more regret were that to happen. Take them out an d let them rest at room temperature for about another half hour. This makes them easier to cook through on the barbecue.

Fire up the barbecue and get the patties on the grill.

Side note on grilling: I use a gas grill most of the time. Cook with the temperature low to low-medium. This way, the food gets cooked through and your summer barbecue is a something that you won’t regret all year long. Cooking these fairly hefty burgers this way also allows a lot of the fat to melt and escape. Thankfully, it also melts into the meat and makes for a really tasty, juicy burger.

I served ours with a truly perfect bit of barbecued sourdough toast from a loaf prepared by eldest daughter’s other half. Delicious it was too. A simple salad and a glass of red wine made up the rest of the meal.

Perfect summer barbecue food – regret free.

Don’t go into next winter regretting your barbecuing or lack thereof. Try these Za’atar and Sumac pork burgers.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Victoria Holt;

“Never regret. If it’s good, It’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”


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Latest comments
  • That’s a yummy combo. I’m not allowed garlic right now, so I might have to do some nifty substitutions: take out a smidge of fat and replace it with a slosh of garlic-infused olive oil so I get flavour without the problems…

      • From memory, the home grown has a depth of flavour you don’t get with the supermarket offering, which is perfectly understandable when you consider how volatile the flavour is. Keep us posted!

  • How many burgers does this recipe make? Don’t have a mincer (it is on my wishlist though) and will see if I can get decent pork mince from my butcher.

  • That pork fat is a beautiful thing. Hubby has been experimenting of late to come up with the perfect turkey burger and I think what he’s missing is some pork fat. 😉

  • Another great job. The fat helps to keep the burgers succulent and adds a lot of flavor. I’ve never tried this combination of flavors before. One could also use pork neck, which has a higher fat content than shoulder, and leave out the fat.

  • Lots of interesting flavors, there. I love your little contraption!

      • Well, yes, I do feel the need to shape rice now and then, actually. I can scarcely believe I am saying such a thing, but it’s true! It would work with my homemade sausage patties, too. I think I will get one at the next opportunity! 🙂

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