Because why not?  You’re already adding smokey seared loveliness to the burger, why not add it to everything on top of the burger as well? This idea is super simple, and so is the execution.  Feel free to add your own bells and whistles to this subtle twist on a classic.  Also, butter the bun. You’re welcome.

Note: If you don’t want to deal with grinding your own meat (I get it) have your butcher grind the same amounts fresh, and mix them together.



For 6 burgers

1 lb chuck, cubed and very cold

1 lb brisket, cubed and very cold

6 sliced cheddar

1 red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4 thick rings

1 tomato, sliced 1/4 thick

1 romaine head, halved

6 brioche buns

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons mayo

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Grind the meat through a fine grate grinder (I use the Kitchenaid attachment) into a bowl.  If the meet is super cold, this will prevent the fat from “spreading” and getting caught in the gears.  I like to freeze my meat for 10 minutes before grinding.  Season well with salt and pepper (about a 1 1/2 teaspoon of each for me) and form into patties. I start by gently rolling them into balls with the palms of my hand, then flattening them to about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Being gentle means you’re not compacting the meat, which means you’ll get juicier burgers. They will shrink, so make them an inch wider than your buns (for a 4 inch bun make 5 inch patties). Set aside on wax paper until ready to grill.


If using a charcoal grill, here’s how to do it:

1) make sure the vents at the bottom are open- want to make sure there is airflow through the bottom

2) put enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the grill (but not too much) in a pyramid shape, making sure there is some depth underneath the coals so that they can catch each other on fire

3) spray lighter fluid – don’t drown it, but make sure there’s a bit across all the charcoal

4) wait a few minutes and light the fire, it should catch easily; leave the vent open and the lid off

6) let it burn until the flames die off and the charcoal starts to turn to gray ash ~15-20 minutes, you don’t want there to be open flame at this point; not every coal will be totally ash, but want to make sure that most are going to provide heat

7) spread the coals evenly across the grill – coals that are less lit at this point can be paired with ones that are really going and they’ll catch

8) you’re ready to go!


Grill the patties over medium high heat for about 7 minutes total, flipping once, for a medium rare burger.  Add cheese after you flip if you like. Add 90 seconds total to cook it further (8 1/2 for medium, 10 for medium well, 11 1/2 for well).  Meanwhile, grill the onion, tomato, and romaine until dark char marks form (about 5 minutes for the onions, 1 minute for the romaine). Remove the toppings when done.

To build, grill or toast the buns, butter them, and layer with the burger, tomato, onion, lettuce, and a bit of mayo. Enjoy!