Jake’s Double Brisket Cheeseburgers

“You’ll likely need to special-order ground brisket from your local butcher shop. Ask them to grind it from a section containing some of the fattier point. Alternatively, grind your own (you must use a meat grinder, not a food processor). You’re looking for a fat content of around 20 percent. And ideally, you’ll grill these over wood or a wood-enhanced fire.” — Steven Raichlen 

Makes 4 burgers. Recipe is excerpted from “The Brisket Chronicles” by Steven Raichlen, who says the recipe is by his stepson Jake Klein.

For the burgers:

1½ pounds ground brisket (cut from the fatty point section you want about 20% fat), well chilled

½ pound of your favorite barbecued brisket, chilled and chopped

Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill grate

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 thin slices sharp provolone cheese (optional)

For serving:

4 sesame hamburger buns or pretzel rolls, cut in half

2 tablespoons melted butter

Optional embellishments

Lettuce leaves, such as Boston or butter lettuce

Tomato slices

Dill or sweet pickle chips

Chipotle mayonnaise or your favorite condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish), for serving

1. Place the ground brisket and chopped cooked brisket in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Moisten your hands with cold water and form the mixture into four equal patties, each ¾-inch thick. Dimple the center slightly with your thumb (burgers rise more in the center as they cook, so this will help them retain a uniform thickness). Line a plate with plastic wrap, set the burgers on it, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.

3. Generously season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grate and grill until the bottoms are sizzling and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Give each a quarter turn after 1½ minutes so they grill evenly. Flip the burgers and lay the provolone slices (if using) on top. Close the grill lid and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the burgers are cooked to taste, 3 to 4 minutes more. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 160 degrees (medium to medium-well). Cook as your conscience and common sense dictate. Insert the probe of an instant-read thermometer through the side of the burger to check it.

4. Meanwhile, brush the cut sides of the buns with butter. Toast the buns, cut sides down, on the grill, about 30 seconds.

5. To assemble the burgers, line the bottom of each toasted bun with a lettuce leaf, if using (this keeps the burger juices from making the bun soggy). Add the burger and any of the remaining embellishments. Add the top bun and dip in.

Brisket 'Steaks' with Shallot Sage Butter

"The brisket 'steak' takes me back to my Barbecue University days at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. A chef there had the genius idea to cook thick slabs of barbecued brisket on a screaming hot grill, just as you would a New York strip This gave the brisket a sizzling, crusty exterior that lay midway between traditional barbecued brisket and steak, with a handsome smoky crosshatch of grill marks. (It’s also a great way to repurpose leftover barbecued brisket.) To this, add a shallot sage butter and a dusting of fiery, fresh horseradish and you may just barbecue your next brisket solely to turn it into steak. Note: If you like your steaks lean, cut them from the flat. If you like them richer and fattier, cut them from the point." — Steven Raichlen 

Serves 4. Recipe is excerpted from “The Brisket Chronicles” by Steven Raichlen.

Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill grate

2 pounds barbecued brisket (about 4 pounds, uncooked), cut across the grain into 1¼-inch-thick slices

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shallot Sage Butter (recipe follows)

1 2-inch chunk of fresh horseradish root, peeled

1. Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.

2. Season the brisket slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Brush the slices on both sides with half the Shallot Sage Butter; set the remaining butter aside.

3. Arrange the brisket slices on the grill running diagonal to the bars of the grate. Grill until browned o the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes, giving each slice a quarter turn halfway through to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks.

4. Gently flip the brisket slices and grill the other side the same way, 2 to 4 minutes more.

5. Serve the brisket steaks hot off the grill, with the remaining Shallot Sage Butter spooned over them and the fresh horseradish grated on top with a Microplane or other fine-hole grater.

Shallot Sage Butter

Shallot Sage Butter brings a Mediterranean note to a smoked meat with deep American roots. Allium lovers can substitute garlic for the shallots.

Makes ½ cup. Recipe is excerpted from “The Brisket Chronicles” by Steven Raichlen. 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 to 3 large shallots, peeled and minced (½ cup)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves (plus an optional handful of whole leaves

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sage and cook until just beginning to brown, 3 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and keep at room temperature until ready to use. Reheat the butter gently if it solidifies.

What Else: For an extra hit of flavor and an irresistible crackly crunch, I like to add a handful of fried whole sage leave to the steaks along with this butter. To make them, fry the fresh leaves in olive oil over medium-high heat for a few seconds until crisp. Drain on paper towels until ready to use.