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Pastrami Burger

This recipe brings together the key elements of a Jewish deli — all in a burger. Homemade Russian dressing and a unique pastrami burger make one of our favorite deli sandwiches into a burger creation, and one of our picks for the 50 best. 

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For the Russian dressing

  • 3/4 Cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pastrami burgers

  • 1 1/2 Pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 slices pastrami
  • 1 Cup sauerkraut
  • 2 Tablespoons sauerkraut liquid
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • Softened butter, for toasting
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • Russian dressing, for garnish


For the Russian dressing

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

For the pastrami burgers

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix the ground chuck gently with salt before shaping. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into rectangles roughly the size of the bread and about ½ inch thick. Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or, test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready.

Cook the patties for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet. Sauté the pastrami slices on the skillet for 1 minute. Place on top of the burgers. Sauté the sauerkraut and 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid for 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon some sauerkraut on top of each burger. Lay a slice of Swiss cheese over each burger and place the baking sheet in the oven just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.

Wipe the skillet clean. Brush both sides of the bread with softened butter. Toast the bread in the skillet until it just begins to color. With a spatula, place each burger on a slice of toast. Spread Russian dressing liberally on the other slices of toast, place on top of the burgers, and serve.