Ultimate Kosher Burgers

I spend, what some may consider, an unhealthy amount of time thinking about food, and how to make kosher versions of unkosher favorites. As Summertime approaches, I have been thinking a lot of about: hamburgers! Or perhaps more accurately, how absolutely mouth-watering delicious a cheeseburger looks. Alas, kashrut.

There is no way to recreate a kosher cheeseburger, and I simply don’t count soy cheese on top of a beef burger as a viable option. But I did want to explore a more creative way to make an amazing kosher burger.


Last week I wrote about making burgers for Shabbat and topping them with The Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings. But as I was prepping my ingredients, I decided to shift strategy. I called my husband, who graciously stopped by our favorite butcher to grab a bag of chicken skin for me to whip up a batch of gribenes!

I know, gribenes is not healthy. It is far from heart-friendly, or waist-friendly. And I don’t advocate for making it more than once or twice a year max. But it is delicious. A Jewish version of pork rinds I always like to say.

How to make gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid  the skin sticking or burning.

When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.

So what did I decide should go on the ultimate kosher burger? Iceberg lettuce for a refreshing crunch, avocado for richness, spicy mayo, grilled pastrami and gribenes. And the combination of creamy, salty, crispy and spicy was the perfect way to enjoy a cheese-less burger. My husband gobbled his up so fast I barely noticed he ate it!

I am usually my own harshest critic, but even I had to admit: I had created a masterpiece, kosher or not.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did!


1 1/2 lb ground beef

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 avocado, sliced

2 cups shredded lettuce

8 slices thinly sliced pastrami

3/4 cup gribenes

For spicy mayo:

1/2 cup mayonaise

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp sriracha or hot sauce

1 Tbsp horseradish

1 tsp spicy brown mustard


Divide beef into four equal parts. Use food scale if you want to be exact. Form meat into four patties and lay out on a platter.

In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle liberally on one side of burgers.

Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place burgers seasoning side down. Cook 5 minutes on first side. While burgers are cooking, sprinkle the other side with seasoned salt.

Flip burgers and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium burgers. Another 5-6 minutes for more well-done burgers. While cooking burgers, grill slices of pastrami for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to remove and excess grease.

To make the spicy mayo, whisk together mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish and mustard,

To assemble burgers, spread around 1-2 tsp of spicy mayo on each side of bun. Place shredded iceberg on bottom bun. Place burger on top of iceberg.

Top burger with grilled pastrami, avocado and gribenes. Place bun on top.

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