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Jacques Pepin’s Hamburger Royale

This is a recipe from “Jacques Pepin: Heart and Soul in the Kitchen. Jacques explains the origin of his recipe and the process by which he prepares it: “I had a great, juicy, flavorful hamburger at my friend Jean-Claude’s house, and he told me he had made it with beef brisket. I tried it myself with great success. I buy brisket from the thick, or fatty end, which has more flavor than the flat end. If you do not have a meat grinder, ask the butcher to grind the meat for you. I sometimes buy a whole brisket and grind some of it, keeping the rest to braise slowly. I make hamburgers that weigh about 5 ounces each and cook them on a grill or in a grill pan on top of the stove. Do not press the hamburgers as they cook, or you will lose the juices. The ciabatta rolls available at my market make great hamburger buns; I usually toast them and rub them with garlic. I also like to put cheese on my hamburgers–Comte, Beaufort, or Gruyere. I arrange the cheese on top of the finished burgers and then run them under the broiler to melt it.” Download Recipe PDF


2 ½ lb piece of brisket, ground
8 ciabatta rolls, 4” across, split
1 large garlic clove
8 slices Comte cheese, or Beaufort, or Gruyere cheese
8 leaves iceberg lettuce
8 slices onion, mild, thin, such as Vidalia or Maui
8 slices tomato, ripe and thick
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Ketchup, Mustard and Mayonnaise (optional, for serving)

How To Make

Divide the ground meat into 8 portions of about 5 ounces each and form them into patties about ¾” thick.
At serving time, heat a grill until hot or preheat a grill pan for about 3 minutes. Preheat the broiler.
Toast the rolls on the grill or in a toaster oven and rub them with the garlic clove.
Arrange the hamburgers on the hot grill or in the grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Put 1 slice of cheese on each patty and run the patties under the hot broiler (about 2” from the heat source) for 1 minute.
Arrange the lettuce leaves on top of the bottom buns, add the onions and tomatoes, and sprinkle with a little of the salt and pepper. Top with the burgers, sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper, and finish with the tops of the buns.