Middle Eastern Lamb Sliders/Highland Brewing St. Terese’s Pale Ale/ZZ Top “La Futura”
We’re really excited and honored to post this recipe. These Middle Eastern Lamb Sliders were prepared by our brother when we were all down in North Carolina for New Years. Perfectly seasoned ground lamb gets mixed with peppers and cilantro then char-grilled to medium doneness. The juicy grilled patties get placed on to a soft potato roll and are simply adorned with a slice of fresh tomato. We could’ve eaten about 10 of these, they were that addictive. A local beer from Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company, St. Terese’s Pale Ale was the beer pairing and the 2012 release “La Futura” from ZZ Top was the music for a cool North Carolina evening.
Middle Eastern Lamb Sliders – We start with lean ground lamb and season with salt and pepper. Into the meat we mix finely minced cilantro and banana peppers if you have them, down in NC we had to settle for Cubanella peppers which were a fine substitute.
These are ready for the grill. On a grill heated to about medium/hot place the burgers on the grate.
Grill over direct heat for about 8 minutes per side or so until a nice char forms on both sides of the burgers.
Slice bakery potato rolls in half and place a patty inside the bun. Add a thick slice of tomato and that’s it. Seems simple, but the lamb was juicy and bursting with flavor, the bun was slightly sweet and the tomato added just the right amount tartness and acidity. A perfect little slider.
Highland Brewing St. Terese’s Pale Ale – We were very excited to try a beer from Asheville, NC, sometimes referred to as the beer capital of the east coast. Highland Brewing seems to be one of the more popular beers, judging by its wide availability throughout the state. Normally our first style of beer that we try from a new brewery is their pale ale or IPA, so we went with their St. Terese’s Pale Ale. The beer poured a light caramel color with a solid thick off-white head. It was also quite bubbly from the decent amount of carbonation. The aroma is citrusy and a little soapy. The carbonation really comes through on the first sip. The beer is crisp and piney from the hops, but with a very pronounced malt backbone. More malty than typical for this style, but the hops return on the finish to produce a little much needed bitter bite. The beer worked well with the lamb, the sweetness of the malt cut through the fatty lamb while the hops countered the spicy peppers nicely. It was very good, but unfortunately we were drinking it after we went through a sampler pack of pale ales from Atlanta’s SweetWater brewing. That brewery’s got it cranking on all cylinders, with each pale ale being better than the next. We’ll be sure to feature one of their offerings on here in the near future.
ZZ Top “La Futura” – Up until this release last year, we had put ZZ Top in the same category as Rush and Kiss. What category is that? We thought all of these bands put out all of their best work and classic albums from the early 70s through 1981. The last great albums being “El Loco”, “Moving Pictures” and “The Elder”, respectively. Sure, each of these bands had a couple of bright flashes in the 80’s and beyond, but their best work by far was in the 70s. “La Futura” quickly changed our way of thinking on that. It’s their best album since 1979’s “Deguello”. Classic ZZ Top blues-rock with a thick and loud production, something their earlier albums lacked. “ZZ Tops First Album” is one of the best in their catalog, but production-wise it’s difficult to listen to. The guitar on “La Futura” has a crunchier tone, the grooves are a little dirtier and it rocks really hard. The album starts off with “I Gotsa To Get Paid”, the title sounding a little too much like their classic “Just Got Paid”. The song though is amazing, a heavy blues track that grooves along at just the right pace. “Chartreuse” sounds the most like 70’s ZZ Top, most likely because it’s the riff to “Tush” just tweaked a little. Dusty Hill’s rolling blues bass riff never gets tiring especially when it’s in the pocket with Frank Beard’s exceptional drumming. The song that made us pick up this album was “Consumption”. It was featured on Boneyard’s Breaking Bone and it instantly made us a believer that ZZ was back and better than ever. A thick and dirty riff and groove along side Billy Gibbons’ gravelly voice, it’s one of the best tracks on the album. “Over You” shows their aptitude for the ballad. Leaning more toward a 1950’s rock and roll ballad then a power ballad. Think Guns and Roses cover of “Since I Don’t Have You” more so than some of ZZ’s own 80’s ballads like “Rough Boy”. The most straight forward blues track on the disc is “Heartache In Blue”, complete with some great blues harp playing. “I Don’t Want To Lose, Lose You” sounds like it could have come off the “El Loco” album. “Flyin’ High” starts with a summery, arena-rock riff, like Journey’s “Stone In Love”. It’s upbeat, melodic and screams summer time. A good song to be sure, but a little out of place. The song we can’t stop playing off the album is “It’s Too Easy Mañana”. The groove is syrupy thick, slow and plodding. The vocals as whiskey and cigarette-soaked as can be. This one has been on repeat on the stereo more than a few times. “Big Shiny Nine” is another classic blues boogie track, meant to be listened to while driving like so many of the earlier ZZ Top songs. The disc ends too soon with “Have A Little Mercy” that is more straight forward blues. This album was an unbelievable surprise from a band that, if they are not a top 5 of all time favorite band, are definitely top 10 on our list. It has also made us go back and listen to those first seven albums over and over again. You would be hard pressed with the exception of Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Skynyrd and maybe a few others to find a more solid string of releases during that time.