My take on the classic patty melt—a burger with cheese on toasted bread rather than a hamburger bun—packs in the flavor with shredded smoked brisket, smoked bacon, ground beef, Kentucky bourbon, pepper jack cheese, and Texas toast.

This dish brings me back to my trips to Kansas City while pitching for the California Angels and Texas Rangers. We used to visit Gates Bar-B-Q, where they would cook brisket low and slow to perfection. Kansas City was always one of my favorite restaurant towns while I was pitching in the American League, and I still enjoy my visits to KC to explore new places for steak or brisket.

Here in Texas, one of the best places to enjoy brisket is Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, where you can order the meat lean or regular. If you get the lean brisket the sauce is probably essential, because the meat does not have much flavor on its own; with the regular brisket, though, you can skip the sauce because the meat has big flavor thanks to the fat content. This patty melt is a unique and intriguing blend of brisket and ground chuck, the ultimate dish to impress your friends and family.




1 pound smoked brisket, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 yellow onions, sliced thin

16 slices smoked bacon

4 pounds ground chuck (80-20 meat-to-fat ratio)

3 tablespoons Nolan Ryan Steak Seasoning 

16 slices Texas Toast 

8 slices white cheddar cheese

8 slices pepper jack cheese

1 recipe Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)

1 Preheat the grill to high and the oven to its lowest setting. Lightly oil the grill grates.

2 Warm the brisket in a small roasting pan in the oven.

3 Melt the butter and oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until golden brown. Transfer the onions to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

4 Cook the bacon in the same skillet until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and tent with foil to keep warm.

5 Form the ground chuck into 16 patties. Season the patties with the steak seasoning and pepper.

6 Grill the patties (in batches, if necessary) for 5 minutes per side and transfer to a platter.

7 Place the Texas toast on the grill. Cover each with a slice of cheese and allow it to melt evenly.

8 To form each patty melt, place 1 beef patty, 2 slices bacon, some brisket, and some onions on a slice of cheddar cheese–covered toast. Spoon on some BBQ sauce and cover the patty with a slice of pepper jack–covered toast.