Jacques Pepin's Hamburger Royale

CheeseBurger with Lettuce and Tomato
LauriPatterson / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 8 servings

This is a recipe from "Jacques Pepin: Heart and Soul in the Kitchen. " It pairs well with La Posta Pizzella Malbec. 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.


  • 1 (2 1/2 pound) piece beef brisket (ground)
  • 8 ciabatta rolls (about 3 ounces each and 4 inches across, split)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 8 slices Comte cheese (or Beaufort, or Gruyere cheese, about 8 ounces)
  • 8 leaves lettuce (iceberg)
  • 8 slices onion (mild, thin, such as Vidalia or Maui)
  • 8 slices tomato (ripe, thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • Optional: ketchup, mustard, and/or mayonnaise (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Divide the ground meat into 8 portions of about 5 ounces each and form them into patties about 3/4 inch thick. 

  2. At serving time, heat a grill until hot or preheat a grill pan for about 3 minutes.  Preheat the broiler.  

  3. Toast the rolls on the grill or in a toaster oven and rub them with the garlic.

  4. Arrange the hamburgers on the hot grill or in the grill pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Put 1 slice of cheese on each patty and run the patties under the hot broiler (about 2 inches from the heat source) for 1 minute.  

  5. 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.  

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.