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Brisket Burger with Squash Pickles

Isaac Toups makes spicy cajun brisket burger
Nathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 28 ounces ground brisket, chilled
  • 4 ounces pork fat, chilled
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar
  • 4 buns
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons chili seasoning (recipe below)
  • Creole aioli (recipe below)
  • Squash pickles (recipe below)
  • Chili seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ground arbol chili
  • 2 tablespoons aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • Creole aioli
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons creole mustard
  • Squash pickles
  • 1 quart mixed yellow and green summer squash, sliced thin like 1/8 inch
  • 1 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Chef notes

    Give your summer cookout some Southern flair -- because no one does brisket like they do in the South! Here, Isaac Toups of Toups' Meatery shares his recipe for a meaty brisket burger topped with homemade squash pickles and creole aioli. 


    Combine chilled brisket and pork fat together, mix by hand, folding the mixture on top of one another four to six times. Make sure not to emulsify. You want it to be kind of crumbly.

    Separate into 8-ounce portions, form into approximate 5 inch patties. Make sure to make a thumbprint in the middle of patty to insure even cooking. Chill for at least thirty minutes.

    Make burger seasoning:

    Mix ingredients.

    Make pickles:

    Bring liquids and seasoning to boil making sure salt and sugar is dissolved. In 1 quart mason jar or food safe container, pour hot pickling liquid over squash. Cool to room temp and refrigerate.

    Pickles are ready when cold but better after 24 hours. Shelf life is 2 weeks.

    Make aioli:

    Combine equal parts mayo and Creole mustard.

    Prep the patties:

    Generously season patties with kosher salt and form a good crust on each. Salt the patty before adding the seasoning blend. This is important!  Add about 1-1 ½ tablespoons seasoning blend to each patty. In a cast iron or French steel skillet, get grapeseed oil on high heat until just starting to smoke.

    Sear burgers for two minutes on each side or longer, keeping in mind 120F is rare and 130F is medium.

    I suggest 130.

    Transfer to wire rack to rest for one minute.

    While burgers are resting, assemble buns with generous dollop of aioli on each side.  Then add patty, cheddar, bacon, and pickles,  to bottom bun and add sauced top bun. Serve!