RECIPES: Recipe Details

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My inspiration for this recipe come from my motivation to leave a legacy of family recipes in a family cookbook. Always seeking ideas for new recipe creations, pastrami came to mind. I love a good pastrami and rye sandwich, so why not impart those wonderful pastrami flavors into ground brisket for a delectable burger treat, dressed up with a spicy mustard aioli and 'drunken' wine and balsamic soaked onions? Throw on thick slices of provolone cheese, some dill pickles and bacon for good measure, all packed between hearty pumpernickel rye and you have just created a new gem in the family treasure trove of recipes to hand down through the generations!


1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 1/2 pounds ground brisket (20 percent fat)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon worcestershire
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon allspice

12 thick cut slices applewood smoked bacon

1 medium-sized red onion, halved and sliced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Colavita Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot

1/3 cup vegetable oil for grill grates
6 thick slices smoke-flavored provolone cheese, each slice halved
12 slices pumpernickel rye bread
1/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil for bread
6 leaves red leaf lettuce
12 dill pickle "stackers"


Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat. Chill the ground brisket and a large stainless steel bowl until needed. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustards, lemon juice, agave, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, marjoram and red pepper flakes. Cover and chill.

Place the ground brisket into the chilled large bowl. Combine the coriander seeds, peppercorns and mustard seed in a spice grinder and finely grind. Add spices to the meat along with liquid smoke, worcestershire, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, brown sugar, paprika and allspice and mix using a large mixing spoon. Form mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping into oblong patties to fit the bread, slightly indenting the centers. Cover with Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil and let rest until time to grill.

Place a 12 inch cast iron skillet on the grill and fry the bacon until just becoming crisp, drain on paper towels. Leave 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in the skillet and add the onion slices, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until liquids have reduced. Remove from grill and cover until needed.

Turn grill burners to high. Use tongs to dip several folded-up paper towels into the vegetable oil and wipe over the grill grates. Grill the burgers about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium, turning only once. After turning, top with 2 provolone halves on each burger. Close grill cover and finish cooking, then remove burgers to a work surface and cover loosely with a Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil tent and rest for 5-10 minutes. Brush each slice of the bread with oil on one side and lay, oiled side down, on the grill and lightly toast.

To assemble, spread a generous amount of aioli onto the grilled sides of the bread. Onto 6 pieces of bread, break a lettuce leaf in half and place the pieces onto the bread, then a patty with cheese, 2 dill stackers, equal amounts of onion, 2 pieces of bacon each and top with remaining pieces of bread. Place 2 wooden skewers into each burger, one through middle of each half, and cut burger in half to serve.


There was a time when I wouldn't have thought to 'de-construct' pastrami, but it is the seasoning that turns a cut of brisket into the actual type of meat we know of as pastrami. So I take those spices and infuse ground brisket to create a juicy grilled pastrami with the usual trimmings bumped up a notch! Why settle for plain mustard when you can easily create a flavorful mustard aioli? The addition of cooked onions saturated with Sutter Home Merlot and aged balsamic vinegar just ramps this burger up to gourmet category! Bacon and dill pickles? Well, that's just icing… this burger is delicious!