Chef Melissa Cookston Helps You Step Up Your Backyard Cookout

Wednesday 05th, August 2020 / 08:40 Written by
Chef Melissa Cookston Helps You Step Up Your Backyard Cookout

Step Up Your Backyard Cookout with One of a Kind Burgers by Celebrity Chef Melissa Cookston!

Recipes & Photos credit: Melissa Cookston

With summer here, there’s only one food item that screams “backyard cookout” – BURGERS!

Taken from Cookston’s cookbook, “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South,” the below award-winning recipes for pub burgers with beer seared onions, pimento pork and chorizo burgers, and delta juke burgers will help your audience elevate their backyard cookout with flavorful burgers unlike any other!

“Everyone I know loves a good grilled burger, and this recipe for Pub Burgers with Beer Seared Onions is a winner! For this recipe, I used Aussie Beef, and it really was delicious. The beef is so rich you don’t need a lot of seasoning (but I’ve never let that stop me before!) The onions are super easy and have such a great flavor, you’ll want to make these for other recipes as well (they go great with lamb and steak!) It’s easy to make them on the grill in a cast iron skillet, so you won’t have to mess up the kitchen (and keep the heat down in the summer!) The main seasoning that I used for this is my Grillin’ Shake.”


For the onions

  • 2 medium onions sliced thinly
  • 2 TBS Banner Butter or your favorite butter
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 cups Stout Beer
  1. In a mixing bowl, add the ground beef, hot sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and beer. Hand mix until incorporated. Form into 4 patties. Sprinkle the Grillin’ Shake on outside of patties.
  1. Thinly slice onions. Melt butter in skillet on grill, then add onions. Add in salt, sugar and pepper. Sear onions until translucent. Form in a mound then pour in beer. Cook until beer is steamed out and onions are soft. Move skillet to the side.
  1. Place burgers on the grill. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 3 minutes (for medium burgers.) Place cheese over burgers. While cheese is melting, toast buns. Place burger on toasted bottom bun, top with onions and serve with your favorite condiments. Enjoy!

“Tired of the same old burger blah? Liven up burger night with my Pimento Pork and Chorizo Burgers! This simple-to-make burger adds some gently spice from the chorizo to the flavors of the ground pork, and leaves everyone wanting another! A little hot sauce adds another layer of flavor to the mix. Don’t worry though, the pimento and cheese will cool the spices down and make this one of your favorite burgers!”


Chef Melissa Cookston backyard cookout
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Chorizo
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1.5 tbs Tabasco Chipotle
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper

Mix everything and form into 6-8 patties, depending on how large you would like your burger patty.

Here’s how to cook them:

Fire up the grill!

Then, sprinkle each patty with a little BBQ rub, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.  This will let the burgers hold their shape better. 

Place on a medium hot grill and cook about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the burgers are cooked through.

As the burgers are nearing completion, add a nice scoop of my Zesty Pimento and cheese and let melt for 1-2 minutes.

Chef Melissa Cookston backyard cookout

Toast your buns, and of course, grill some bacon!

Put it all together with your favorite burger condiments and enjoy!

“In the Delta, the local convenience store usually functions as the town grocery, news station, gas station, and restaurant. The menu may be nothing more than sandwiches and a burger, but they are absolutely delicious. When I opened Memphis Barbecue Company, I wanted to recreate the burgers I always ate as a kid while driving around with my grandfather as he made the rounds and caught up on all the goings-on in the area.”


Chef Melissa Cookston backyard cookout

Juke Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 ½ teaspoons Ultimate BBQ Rub


2 pounds (80/20) ground beef
2 tablespoons Grill seasoning
4 slices cheddar cheese
1 yellow onion, sliced crosswise into rounds
4 hamburger buns
Lettuce, tomato slices, and pickles for serving
Preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.

To make the sauce, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and rub in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Form the ground beef into eight balls. Flatten slightly, but don’t make into patties. Season both sides of the balls with the grill seasoning, then place in the skillet. Using a metal spatula, flatten into thin patties. Sear for 2 minutes or until the patties release from the skillet. Flip and cook for 2 minutes longer for medium. Top every other patty with a slice of cheese and then another patty to make double-deckers. Remove the patties from the skillet and place the onion slices in the skillet to sear for 2 minutes. Place 1 ½ teaspoons of the juke sauce on the bottom of each bun; dress with lettuce, tomato slices, and pickles; then finish with a slice of seared onion and a set of patties and the top bun.

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