I know that you already make a damn-good burger so I won't insult your process by telling you how to build your masterpiece, but there are some things to consider when grilling up a Yak burger:
You need a binder: Because Yak meat is naturally lean, it has a tendency to fall apart when formed then cooked. Add 1 whole egg per pound of meat, beaten then incorporated into the grind.
- If you are opposed to egg, flax meal (finely ground flax seed) is an okay substitute; about 1 tablespoon per pound, with just enough water to make it into a very thick paste before adding to the mix.
Salt as flavor booster: Salt is the ultimate flavor enhancer. Since Yak is low in sodium, it needs some salt to please our sodium expectant palates. I recommend adding a teaspoon or two of Soy Sauce, Tamari or Worcestershire into the mix prior to forming into patties AND sprinkling a little salt on the formed patties before cooking.
- Over-salting make you nervous? Start slow by adding 1/2-1 teaspoon of the soy, tamari or Worcestershire at a time and taking a pinch of mix and searing it off in a pan to get a preview of the finished product. Don't forget the sprinkle of salt!
- As always, pepper burns and turns bitter, so crack it on after you cook.
Low fat means it wants to stick: Use a finger, grill brush or a spray nozzle to coat each patty with a thin layer of high temp oil (avocado, grapeseed, safflower, etc) before cooking. Because it has a tendency to fall apart, you don't want to give it an opportunity to stick to the cooking surface.
- Using a grill? Brush the clean grill grate using an oil soaked paper towel held with tongs.
- Using a pan? Add enough oil to form a thin but solid sheet in the pan.
High Heat/Quick Cook: Like Bison, Yak cooks quickly. Faster than conventional red meat. Use the highest heat you can and sear each side, just long enough to get the color you want. Flip multiple times for even cooking -- if you added enough binder, this won't cause crumblage.
- I recommend nothing over a medium-rare cook. If you just can't, mix 50/50 with ground beef to make your burger.
- A meat thermometer is your BFF.