Over the summer, I raved about a batch of keftedes, the Greek meatballs, I had put together. I didn't think they could get much better, but alas, I was wrong. When you stuff that tasty Greek meat mixture with some feta cheese and grill it, the awesomeness meter totally cranks up, plus they get a new name—bifteki.
Like the keftedes, a combination of oregano, mint, and onion create the traditional Greek flavor of the meat. Luckily, this particular recipe created a much firmer mixture, more in line with a traditional burger, that was perfect for forming into patties to hold the cheese, which later held up great on the grill.
The feta softened just enough over the heat to make smooth, creamy innards that added new flavor and texture, heightening an already fantastic beef. So if you haven't tried this out yet, skip the keftedes and go straight to the bifteki, I promise that you won't be disappointed.
- 2 slices of white bread
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Greek)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- One 2 x 2 x 1-inch block feta cheese, drained
- For Serving
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- Type of fire: direct
- Grill heat: high
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine breadcrumbs. Pour the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and add the ground beef, chopped red onion, thyme, mint, parsley, oregano, salt, salt, egg, and black pepper. Mix together with your hands until evenly combined. Break of quarter-sized piece and fry in skillet until cooked (or microwave on high power for 30 seconds). Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper as necessary.
Cut off 4 slices of feta 1/2-in wide each. Break off 1/4 of the meat mixture and work into an oval patty. Using your thumb, create a depression running longways through the middle of the patty and place 1 slice of the feta inside it. Form the meat around the cheese and seal, making sure to enclose the entire piece of feta inside of the meat. Repeat 3 more times with the remaining meat and cheese slices.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill the meat patties over high heat until browned on all side and just cooked through (center should read 135 to 145 on instant-read thermometer). Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve with onion slices, tomatoes, and tzatziki.