Texas Tailgate Burger

January 28, 2010
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 6 burgers
Author Notes

In Texas we take football and tailgating PRETTY seriously. I developed this burger at the start of college football season a couple years ago as a way to combine some tailgate favorites: burgers, barbecue, and chips. You will need either a cold beer or a Texas tea to wash this bad boy down! —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aargersi is a 4-time contest winner who knows a thing or two about barbecue.
WHAT: All of your favorite backyard barbecue essentials—stuffed between two buns.
HOW: Form beef patties with pickled jalapeños and chili powder, then throw them on the grill. When they're almost done, top them with a barbecue sauce-cheese mixture. The assembly is the most important part: Stack barbecue kettle chips, the patty, dill pickles, and iceberg lettuce on a bun. Toss the knife and fork, grab a paper napkin, and and open your mouth as wide as you can.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sometimes all we want on a hot summer day is a simple salad. This is not for one of those days: Yes, you will spend the rest of the afternoon wiping barbecue sauce off of your cheeks and yes, you will get chips everywhere, but consider that the price of the perfect burger. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (either use your favorite, or use my recipe at the end of instructions)
  • 2 cups shredded smoked sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion (I use Texas 1015, naturally)
  • 6 onion hamburger buns
  • 1 handful barbecue-flavored potato chips (kettle style is best)
  • 1 piece sliced dill pickles
  • 1 handful Chopped iceberg lettuce (we are going for crunch, not vitamins, here!)
  1. Heat your grill to medium-high. Brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking.
  2. To make the patties, combine the chuck, jalapeños, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a large bowl, handling it as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  3. Note: Here's how I form my patties. Grab a softball-sized handful of meat and gently form it into a ball. Then, I sort of do a back and forth hand-to-hand motion for a few tosses (kind of like how you'd make a tortilla by hand), then I pat-pat-pat the meat into a flat disc while corralling the edges with my thumb to keep them smooth and uniform. Finally, make a small thumb-sized indentation in the middle of the patty. That way you get a nice patty without over-handling the meat. That is, if you don't drop it.
  4. Prepare the barbecue cheese: Mix the barbecue sauce, cheese, and onions and set it aside. Do not refrigerate (you will be using it shortly and you don’t want it to be really cold).
  5. Place the patties on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until they're cooked to your preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. In the last 3 minutes of grilling, carefully place equal amounts of the barbecue cheese on each patty. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, place the buns cut side-down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
  6. To assemble the burgers, place an equal layer of barbecue kettle chips on each bottom bun. Add a cheese-covered patty on top, followed by a layer of pickles and an equal amount of lettuce. Add the bun tops and serve with an ice-cold beer or a big ol' pitcher of tea.
  7. If you are so inclined, here's my BBQ sauce recipe. Simply mix all of the ingredients together: 1/2 cup ketchup; 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard; 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (Louisiana style or Tabasco); 4 to 5 drops liquid smoke; 1 tablespoon; chili powder; 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce; 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shel
  • fanaledrinks
  • mizerychik
  • Bevi
  • inpatskitchen

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

17 Reviews

Shel July 10, 2016
Had to make some adjustments, because I was too lazy to go to the store. First, didn't have enough, so augmented the chopped jalapeño with a small can of chipotle in adobo. AWESOME. Second, as much as I love it I can't do raw onion without intestinal distress, so I carmelized a vidalia for a topping. Otherwise prepared as directed, including the homemade bbq sauce (minus the smoke because I was out of it and used habanero hot sauce because I was out of other hot sauce) and am gloriously full and happy! And expect a marriage proposal due to happy dinner companion. Excellent burger!
aargersi July 11, 2016
That is great to hear - and a burger based proposal is the best thing ever! Keep us posted!!!!
fanaledrinks July 9, 2015
Now that's what I call a burger!! :)
mizerychik July 4, 2015
This was excellent, and fitting for a 4th of July barbecue. The barbecue cheese plus potato chips was an addictive, tasty combination that made the burger really stand out.
Bevi May 26, 2015
I echo the sentiment that any sandwich with chips inside as opposed to on the side is where I am at.
inpatskitchen May 26, 2015
Yay Abbie! Congratulations!
aargersi May 26, 2015
Thanks you guys! What fun to wake up to!!!!
Kukla May 26, 2015
Congratulations Abbie on the Wildcard win! This Burger looks and sounds awesome!
drbabs May 25, 2015
Go Abbie! Congratulations on the Wildcard!
Shannon July 20, 2014
Looks great, but how in the world do you eat this?
aargersi July 21, 2014
:-) unhinge your jaw, like a snake


smush it
Madhuja July 17, 2014
I am putting potato chips on pretty much everything these days, so this recipe is right up my alley! Congratulations on the CP, Abbie! :)
EmilyC July 17, 2014
Ok, this may be the most awesome picture of a burger ever! Love the sounds of this, especially the kettle chip part. Congrats on the CP!
aargersi July 17, 2014
Thanks Em! Shoving chips into just about anything makes it better, right?
Aliwaks July 23, 2010
Oh Yum Yum Yum!
nannydeb July 19, 2010
Yum! I love potato chips on my sammiches!
aargersi July 19, 2010
Me too! I am as likely to stuff them into a PB&J as on to a burger.