Hill Country Brisket Burger

Hill Country Brisket Burger
Staff Writer
Ken Goodman Photography

The authors of Wicked Good Burgers are very clearly barbecue experts, and this recipe incorporates all of their skills into a brisket burger. Seasoned with a unique barbecue rub and topped with a pit sauce for the finish, this concoction had us wanting to make a lot more burgers out of brisket. 

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Deliver Ingredients


For the Basic BBQ Rub

  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon granulated onion

For the Pit Sauce

  • 2 Cups ketchup
  • 1/2 Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Basic BBQ Rub
  • 1 Tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

For the Garlic Butter

  • 1/2 Cup unsalted utter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper

For the Quick-Pickled Onion

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 Teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 Cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the burgers

  • 1 1/2 Pound ground brisket flat
  • 1 1/2 Pound ground brisket point
  • 6 Tablespoons Basic BBQ Rub
  • 1 Cup Pit Sauce
  • 12 slices inexpensive white sandwich bread
  • Garlic Butter
  • 1 batch Quick-Pickle Onions


For the Basic BBQ Rub

Mix all of the spices together and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

For the Pit Sauce

Combine all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer gently, whisking occasionally, for 30 minutes.

For the Garlic Butter

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ingredients thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using. 

For the Quick-Pickled Onion

Place the onion slices in a medium, stainless steel mix bowl. Add the coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes and toss to distribute. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour over the onions. Mix well and season with a generous pinch of salt. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week. 

For the burgers

Clean the grill grate of a kettle grill well with a stiff wire brush. Build a hot charcoal fire on 1 side. Leave the other side empty. This provides a cooler zone to finish cooking the burger. While the grill is heating, prepare the patties. Shape the ground beef into 6 square patties that are slightly larger than the bread and a little thicker around the edges than in the center — about 1 inch on the edges and ¾ inch in the middle. The center of the burger will expand during the cooking process and result in an even thickness. Don’t overwork the meat or pack it tightly. The loose consistency may make the grilling process bit more challenging, but it yields a super-tender burger.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Basic BBQ Rub on both sides of each patty. Grill for 2 minutes per side, uncovered. Carefully move patties to the cool side of the grill, baste generously with Pit Sauce, and cover the grill. Let patties cook 2 to 3 minutes for rare (125 degrees internal temperature), 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare (130 degrees), or 4 to 5 minutes for medium (135 degrees).

Remove the burgers from the grill and rest on a platter, loosely tented with foil. Lay the bread slices on the grill just long enough to get a light char, a minute or so. Using tongs turn the bread over and char the other side. Remove and brush 1 side of each slice with softened garlic butter.

Place a patty on one buttered piece of toast, heap generously with onions, and lay another piece of toast on top.

Slice in ½. Repeat for the remaining burgers. Serve with lots of napkins.

Brisket Shopping Tip

Most cattle are fed a diet of grass until they are sent to a feedlot – where they are finished on corn. When possible, choose beef from cattle that are “100% grass fed” - it will be more expensive, but better for your health.

Brisket Cooking Tip

The method used to cook beef is dependent on the cut. Cuts that are more tender, like filet mignon, should be cooked for a relatively short amount of time over high heat by grilling or sautéing. While less tender cuts, like brisket and short ribs, should be cooked for a longer time with lower heat by braising or stewing.