Pljeskavica are Serbian hamburgers popular in one form or another throughout the Balkans. The name for these meat patties comes from pljesak, a word meaning "to clap the hands," the motion used to form these thin, large burgers. They can be made with any combination of pork, lamb and beef and can be grilled, baked or pan fried, in this recipe a ridged griddle pan is used on the hob.


  • 12 ounces minced beef, preferably ground chuck (not too lean,about 20 percent fat is ideal)
  • 12 ounces minced pork or veal (or substitute more minced lamb)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for hotter pljeskavica leave the seeds in), or 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
Grilled pita bread for serving (optional) Tomato slices, sliced green onion and lemon wedges for serving (optional)


  1. Combine the beef, pork/lamb, garlic, onion, serrano peppers, parsley, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Knead the mixture gently with your hands until thoroughly blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Divide the meat into four equal portions.
  4. Mold each into a large flat disk, like a pita bread. Each pljeskavica should be 6 to 8 inches across and 1/4-inch thick. In Bosnia, they'd mold and flatten the burgers right on the work counter. (You pry them off with a long spatula.) You may find it easier to flatten the burgers between two sheets of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Chill the burgers until ready to grill.
  5. Loosen the burger from the baking sheet by sliding a slender metal spatula or carving knife under it, or peel it off the waxed paper.
  6. Carefully transfer it to a griddle pan on a a high heat.
  7. Griddle until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning with a wide-headed spatula. In tSerbiaof the world, burgers are served medium to medium-well.
  8. Transfer the pljeskavicas to a platter and serve at once with pita, tomato slices, pickled peppers,sliced onion and lemon wedges for squeezing.