Perhaps no summer fare is as popular as a hamburger grilled outdoors. If you take an evening stroll around just about any neighborhood in just about any city in the country, your nose will likely confirm this supposition.
Although simple burgers are just fine, the sandwich has evolved well beyond a patty of ground beef. There are countless ways to jazz up a hamburger, and a recent cookbook delivers some delicious variations.
Wicked Good Burgers [Fair Winds Press, 2013], written by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson, features recipes for burgers inspired by regional and global cuisines—including Central Texas barbecue. And there are many recipes for unique toppings and sides that will enhance your burger feast.
These Texas-style burgers are a bit of work for the chef, but the resulting compliments will be worth it. They even elicited an enthusiastic response from my 10-year-old nephew Kris, a picky eater who devoured every bite of this hearty half-pound sandwich.
Hill Country Brisket Burgers*
1 1/2 pounds beef brisket flat, trimmed
1 1/2 pounds beef brisket point, trimmed
6 tablespoons Basic BBQ Rub (recipe follows)
1 cup Pit Sauce (recipe follows)
12 slices sandwich bread
Garlic Butter (recipe follows)
1 batch Quick-Pickled Onions (recipe follows)
- If you have a meat grinder, grind the brisket pieces using a coarse plate or ask a butcher to do it for you. Shape meat into six square-shaped patties, slightly larger than the bread and slightly thicker around the edges than in the center. Don’t overwork the meat or pack it too tightly. Sprinkle the side of each patty with 1/2 tablespoon of Basic BBQ Rub.
- Clean grill grate thoroughly. Build a charcoal fire on one side of a kettle-style grill. When coals have burned down and are covered with a layer of white ash, grill each patty over direct heat, about 2 minutes per side, uncovered. Carefully move patties to the cool side of the grill, baste generously with Pit Sauce and cover the grill. Allow to cook 2 to 3 minutes more for rare or up to 4 to 5 minutes more for medium. Remove burgers from the grill and allow to rest on a platter, loosely tented with foil.
- Lay the bread slices on the grill just long enough to get a light char, about a minute or so. Using tongs, turn the bread over and char the other side. Remove and brush a side of each slice with softened Garlic Butter.
- Place a patty on one buttered piece of toast, heap generously with Quick-Pickled Onions, and lay another piece of toast on top. Repeat for remaining burgers. Serve with lots of napkins.
Basic BBQ Rub
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store remainder in an airtight container.
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Basic BBQ Rub (see previous)
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan along with 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently, whisking occasionally, for 30 minutes. Refrigerate unused portion for future barbecues.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ingredients thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.
1 medium onion, sliced very thin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch kosher salt
- Place the onion slices in a medium nonreactive mixing bowl. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds and grind. Add the ground seeds and red pepper flakes to onion and toss to combine.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour over onion. Mix well and season with a generous pinch of salt. Let cool to room temperature.
Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 burger. Per serving: 515 calories, 55.1 g protein, 11.4 g fat, 41.7 g carbohydrates, 3.2 g dietary fiber, 2,830 mg sodium, 10.2 g sugars, 152 mg cholesterol
* This recipe was tested with one 3-pound piece of flat brisket and Texas toast-style bread. Adjust cooking times to suit your grilling situation.