The “Grill Everything but the Burger” Brisket Burger

The all-brisket patty for this burger—from San Francisco’s Wes Rowe, a pop-up burger slinger—is grilled, but in a cast-iron pan over the flame. This not only minimizes flare-ups (which result in a bitter flavor), but also allows the burger to cook over a bed of onions that would otherwise burn. The onions simultaneously season the meat and soak up the juices of the brisket, and by charring the other toppings and bun over an open flame, you’ll get the quintessentially smoky touch you expect from a burger.

Featured in: The New Grilling Essentials

What You Will Need

The “Grill Everything but the Burger” Brisket Burger The “Grill Everything but the Burger” Brisket Burger
For a more flavorful cookout classic, put this all-brisket burger patty in a pan, and put the pan over an open flame.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 lb. beef brisket, ground (ask your butcher to do this)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 burger buns, halved
  • 3 hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
  • 3 whole dill pickles, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for serving


  1. Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high.) Form meat into 6 patties; season with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on grill; place patties in skillet and top with onion slices. Cover with grill lid and cook 3–4 minutes; flip patties, resting them on top of onion slices, and cook 2 minutes more. Top with cheese and cook until cheese is melted, 1–2 minutes; keep warm. Working in batches, grill buns, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, turning once, until charred, 2 minutes for buns, 3–4 minutes for romaine, and 5–7 minutes for pickles and tomatoes. Divide patties, vegetables, and condiments between buns.

Pairing note: For this burger, sommelier Vilma Mazaite, director of wine at Austin’s wine-focused la V restaurant suggests a 2012 Lioco “Indica” Carignane, ($20;, from Mendocino County, California, a light red that will let the brisket’s flavor shine.