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Jamie Purviance

Pita Sandwiches with Grilled Beef Patties and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

  • People

    Serves 4

  • Prep Time

    25 min.

  • Grilling Time

    9 to 11 min.

Serves 4
Prep Time
25 min.
Grilling Time
9 to 11 min.

the Ingredients

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  • 65 grams bulgur wheat
  • 455 grams lean ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion, about 225 grams, minced or grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 120 milliliters plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 60 milliliters tahini
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 thin slices red onion, cut in half crosswise
  • 4 pita pockets (standard size)


  • 01 If the bulgur is labeled fine, place it in a bowl and stir in 180 milliliters hot water, then cover and soak until tender, about 15 minutes. If it’s coarse (sometimes labeled number 2 or 3) place it in a small saucepan with 240 milliliters water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender and the water is absorbed, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
  • 02 Mix the patty ingredients, and then gently form eight patties of equal size in an oval shape, each 6 to 7.5 centimeters wide and about 18 millimeters thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 2.5 centimeters wide in the center of the patties to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook. Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill. 
  • 03 In a small bowl whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and the tahini is thoroughly incorporated.
  • 04 Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (230° to 290°C). 
  • 05 Grill the patties over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (70ºC), 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of grilling time, toast the pita over direct heat until slightly puffed (making them easier to stuff), turning once.
  • 06 Cut each pita crosswise in half and place a dollop of the sauce inside each one. Then add a patty, cucumber slices, and onion. Top with additional sauce and serve right away.

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