Living in Austin Texas we have an abundance of BBQ everything from Brisket to ribs to chicken. Our favourite is Smoked Brisket, we buy a whole one at least once a month as you can eat it as it is by the slice or you can use it in things such as Tacos. But as anyone who deals with whole briskets know there is some "waste"; edges that get overcooked, bits that fall off when you slice it etc. These pieces have a lot of the brisket Rub on them and are very flavourful. Many restaurants save these and serve them as "Burnt Ends" to snack on.
I wanted to try something different and was in the mood for a burger when a lightbulb went off in my head! I could incorporate these into the burger and make a no smoker smoked burger!
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Step 1: Making Smoked Brisket Bits
This cannot be any easier. Take your already smoked brisket trimmings (burnt ends) and chop them up very fine, you can do this by hand like I did or throw them in a food processor, it does not matter. Get them to be the consistency of Bacon Bits. Depending on the "Meat" to "Barque" (the outer crust with the spice rub) ratio you can add more seasoning if you would like, I added some fresh cracked pepper but the saltiness and smokiness was already good.
Since these bits are already cooked you can store them in an airtight container for a couple of weeks with no issues or even freeze them if you have a lot extra.
Step 2: Season Your Burgers
I had picked up, from the local butcher, 2 pounds of freshly ground brisket with about a 30% fat to meat ratio. I weighed out 6oz balls and then added about 1/2 to 3/4 oz of the Brisket bits to each burger. This was then kneaded into the raw hamburger meat until it was consistently distributed.
I then formed the balls into patties. I have a small 1 egg frying pan which turns out is just the perfect size to form a 6oz burger. I just placed the ball in and pressed it flat, out comes a perfectly round consistent patty.
Step 3: Cooking
And of course as luck would have it the day I want to BBQ my burgers on the grill and it starts to rain!
Pre-heat your frying pan with a bit of butter and oil, cook burger to your desired doneness (keeping in mind food safety recommendations). Finaly let the burger rest for a few minutes to re-absorb the juices, as it is doing this you can get the buns & toppings assembled.
Step 4: Assemble
Each person has their own preferences on assembling a burger, I will show mine.
I like the bite of some fresh raw sliced onion, the sweetness of tomato, and I use Boston bib lettuce (so I do not need a bib - Really! the lettuce stops the juices from soaking through the bottom of the bun!). I chose a medium/soft white bun with a bit of a crispy exterior.
I did not use any sauces on the burger as I wanted the Smoked Brisket seasoning to come through without being masked by something like mustard.
Step 5: Eat & Enjoy!
I was really surprised how much the smokiness came through in the burger. You could really taste that Smoked Brisket flavor. The "bits" that were on the outside became crispy - but not really any more than the regular char on a burger. The ones on the inside softened a bit from the juices of the burger but I still got some pops of Brisket Barque as I ate the burger.
All in all I would say this was a total success and I will be making this again!