Black Pepper Burgers

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Shannon Hayes, author of The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, tells  us in her book The Farmer and the Grill, that this is her favorite burger recipe.

The recipe is easy and flavorful, and the generous spread of black pepper on the surface gives it a spicy and crispy outer texture while still allowing the grass-fed beef taste to shine through.

Tip:  If you find that your burgers don’t hold together well, try  adding a Tablespoon of breadcrumbs to the mixture before forming the patties.


2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 ½ pounds ground beef (serves 4)



Combine the salt and meat in a shallow bowl. Loosely shape the ground beef into approximately  four meatballs. Roll the balls in the pepper until they are lightly coated, then gently flatten them until they are just shy of being one-inch thick. With your fingertips, make a small well in the top of each patty to prevent the meat from getting puffy over the flames. Set the patties aside while you light  and prepare the grill.

When the grill is medium-hot and you can hold your hand five inches above it for no more than 3 or 4 seconds, brush the grill lightly with vegetable oil, then set the patties directly over the flame, with the well facing up. Grill, covered, for about 4 minutes per side for medium burgers, remembering that, per USDA safety recommendations, ground beef should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees farenheit.

Adapted and reprinted with permission from The Farmer and the Grill, by Shannon Hayes,


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