What the Heck is Zaatar? And Why Is the Lamb So Mild? July 24 2016

You'll see our popular Middle Eastern Spiced Lamb Burgers on the menu this week featuring Zaatar. A spice blend commonly used in the Middle East, it's not as familiar in the US. Here's the deal:

Za'atar African seasoning for Back to Basics Kitchen in Broomfield's burgers.

Za'atar features the dried fruit of sumac, a subtropical flowering shrub, a couple of varieties of which you can actually find and forage in the United States. The Stagnorn Sumac seems to be one of the most popular for its potency. Sumac tastes lemony and light, and is a perfect addition to food to help augment flavor without using more salt. 

Its brightness balances and brings out the mild lamb flavor in the most delicious and surprising way paired with the other Zaatar spices. We get our Za'atar blend from Savory Spice Shop made of dried thyme, dried marjoram, dried sumac and sesame seeds. There are many iterations of Zaatar, even house by house where it is popular.

The lamb has its own unique flavor profile as well. We get our lamb from Mary and David of Triple M Bar Ranch. It's mild (not gamey) and flavorful because the lambs are well loved and well fed. 

We get our lamb from Mary and David of Triple M Bar Ranch.

From onions to melons to chiles, everything grown in the area is fair game for these sheep. "It's kinda cute — they're like humans, because they have their favorites," Mary says. "Okra and eggplant are probably the last things they like to eat."

Read lots more from this great Westword article on Triple M Bar and Colorado sheep ranching.