Kick Ass Burgers with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Chipotle Ketchup

May 29, 2009.   5 Comments.   Categories Chef David Lawrence, Contributing Chefs, Father's Day, Smoking / Grilling.  

ultimate burger.jpg

Kick Ass Burgers with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Smoky Chipotle Ketchup

by Chef David Lawrence

Chef David Lawrence has done it again by creating quite possibly, the ultimate burger… and the best photo of a burger I think I’ve ever seen!   Serve these once and your house will be the hit of the summer BBQ season!

Here is the recipe, in his own words:

The all-American Hamburger gets a gourmet makeover with the addition of ground brisket and a few other ingredients that really take this cookout classic to the next level. Perfect for Memorial Day! Admittedly there’s a bit of preparation involved, but don’t confuse time consuming with difficult. There’s nothing difficult about these burgers and most of the prep work can be done days in advance. Believe me, the flavor pay off is well worth it! Ask your friendly butcher to grind the brisket twice for the juiciest, most delicious burger you’ve ever tasted.

Serves 6


  • 2 1/4 pounds ground brisket
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons steak sauce (recommended: A1 Brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter


  • 1 pound red onions, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons canned chipotle peppers, seeded and diced, or to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from can, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 6 Brioche Rolls or good hamburger buns, split, cut side toasted or grilled
  • 6 thick slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

To caramelize the onions, heat oil over low heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until soft and deep golden brown. Don’t rush this part. It really does take about 20 minutes to develop the sugars and caramelize the onions. Trust me, your patience will be rewarded. They key to success is low and slow. Season with salt and pepper and add the balsamic vinegar during the last couple of minutes to deglaze the pan. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Spread tomato halves on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss together to ensure everything is coated evenly. Roast for 45 minutes, cut side up, without turning, until the tomatoes are concentrated and caramelized. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

To make the ketchup, Stir together the ketchup, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce in a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

To make the burgers, whisk together the egg yolks, steak sauce and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the ground brisket and put a touch of olive oil on clean hands to keep meat from sticking and to prevent over mixing. Carefully work the meat with your fingertips until just combined. It’s important not to overwork the meat, doing so results in a tough burger.

To form patties, shape a loose ball in your hand and press half a tablespoon of the cold butter into the center of the meat. Lightly form each hamburger with the balls of your hands making sure the butter is entirely encased, but don’t pack the meat. The more you pack, the denser the burger will be and it will leave more potential for shrinkage. The burgers should be half an inch thick. Season both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper.

Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high.

Grill the burgers for 5 to 7 minutes on each side to desired doneness. Remove to a plate, add cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately on buns with desired fixin’s.


  1. I would try your local bakery. I also find them at Whole Foods… but start with a bakery.

  2. can’t wait to try this one! where do I find brioche rolls?? they are in many restaurants (LA) but not in stores!

  3. Now THAT is what I call a BURGER! I must try this one!

  4. The (*) in the chipotle recipe was a typo.. If you have a teensy back patio, your guests will be even more impressed when you deliver these to the table!!

  5. OMG – these look amazing! I have a teensy grill on my teensy back patio, but can’t wait to try these. Why the (*) by the chipotle peppers, in the Ketchup recipe?

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