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Emma Frisch Feast by Firelight Italian Meatball Burger

Emma Frisch
Emma Frisch is a self-taught chef who, after many years of food blogging, published her first cookbook: Feast by Firelight: Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins and The Great Outdoors. In 2014, Emma and her husband, Robert, opened their business Firelight Camps, a glamping destination in Ithaca. This recipe features instructions for both an at-home grill and a camp stove so it can be prepared while enjoying a camping getaway! To source the grass-fed beef locally, check out Autumns Harvest Farm and Schrader's Meat Market, both in Romulus.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion minced
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesian cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 20 grinds of the pepper mill
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil or butter (optional)


  • In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly, and then form 4 patties.
  • Cover each patty with plastic wrap, transfer to a ziplock bag, and then chill for up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 4 months. (They will double as ice in your cooler!)
  • If the patties are frozen, remove them from the cooler about 1 hour before you plan to cook them.

To cook on the grill

  • Fire the grill to mediumhigh heat and position the grill grate 4 inches above the coals.
  • Cook the patties over direct heat for about 2 minutes on 1 side and then flip, continuing to cook the patties for 2 minutes on the other side. Be attentive or they will burn, in which case, you should move them to indirect heat. Don’t be afraid of charring the outside—it adds a flavorful, crispy exterior.
  • After 4 to 5 minutes, the burgers should be medium-rare. Cook longer for medium or well-done; they will become firmer.
  • While the burgers are cooking, toast the hamburger buns over indirect heat.

To cook on the camp stove

  • In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat, warm the sunflower oil.
  • Add the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping with a spatula.
  • When the patties are cooked, drain any fat from the pan into a small jar or container and then toast the buns in the pan.
  • Serve immediately, with the buns. Store leftovers in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 4 days.
Keyword burger, grill, meat