Fireman Burgers!!

posted in: Beef, Recipes 2
Fireman Burgers!!

Joe Morrow, a longtime family friend and retired firefighter from California introduced us to his Fireman Burgers well over 30 years ago.  Joe and his beautiful wife, Joy are now living in Arkansas, and while we don't see them much; the firehouse tradition of his burgers has remained a timeless, family favorite!  Simple to make, these burgers are spicy and delicious!

Mixed Ingredients


Burger Mix:

  • 3 lbs ground sirloin
  • 2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more....  or lots more)
  • 1 can diced Hatch Chilies.
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more...)
  • 1 tbsp seasoning mix (your favorite blend; ours is Fagundes Famous Seasoning Mix)
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

For the sandwich:

  • Sourdough bread
  • Pepper Jack cheese slices (2 per burger)
  • Colby Jack cheese slices (2 per burger)
  • 1 whole chili
  • Sliced onion (pre-grill if preferred)

Now, depending on the size of your appetite, family, or party; adjust these ingredients accordingly.

Form your burgers in an oblong patty; about the size of the sourdough bread. Grill/smoke the burgers to your preference.

On a flat pan or griddle, lay a slice of buttered sourdough, then two slices of pepper jack cheese.  Place a cooked burger on top, then 1 whole chili, then two slices of cheddar jack cheese; finally, place the other slice sourdough (buttered) on top.  Grill the entire sandwich to perfection!

Serve the Fireman Burgers with your favorite side dishes!


2 Responses

  1. Bruce Bartl
    | Reply

    Hi Pete,

    I smoked a 15lb brisket yesterday on my MAK 1Star & the brisket came out dry, not juicy like I was hoping for. Maybe you have some suggestions of what I can do in the future.

    I pretty much followed your recipe from the book. I cooked at 250 degrees until it reached 160, spraying it every hour with Cajun Blast. I then double wrapped it in foil, raised the temp to 325 degrees & smoked it until it reached 204 degrees. Left it in the foil & put it in a cooler with towels on top of the brisket & let it sit for about 1.5 hours. Then took it out & cut against the grain. It came out very dry & somewhat tasteless even though I seasoned it well. I also used the Premium Cooking Pellets that you recommend.

    Do you have any suggestions?


    Bruce Bartl

    • smokerpete
      | Reply

      Hi Bruce,

      First let me thank you for purchasing my cookbook and for visiting my Blog.

      On the surface, it appears that you did not do anything wrong and that your Brisket should not have come out dry. But I must admit that a brisket is probably one of the most temperamental cuts of beef and is notoriously difficult to cook. Many barbecuers have been known to turn a brisket into a big chunk of beef jerky!

      I am presuming that your 15 lb brisket was the whole brisket ( the point & the flat ). Do you know what grade of meat your brisket was? Select, Choice, or Prime? Prime of course is the best but the $$$ is outrageous and in some places difficult to find. I pretty much always buy my meat at Costco because they only carry Choice and Prime. The lower the meat grade the less marbling … less marbling cuts will tend to dry out faster and be tougher.

      Did you trim the fat cap off the brisket? If you don’t trim any fat off the brisket it can taste too fatty but if your trim too much of the fat cap your brisket will have a tendency to come out dry. I recommend around 1/4″ of fat. As my recipe suggests, I always rub olive oil on my briskets before applying the rub. I then wrap the seasoned brisket in plastic and fridge overnight to allow the rub to do it’s magic. To help promote a more even cook I allow the brisket to warm to room temperature for about an hour before placing it in the smoker. I neglected to mention this fact in my book.

      I recommend placing the brisket fat side down (1/4″ of fat) to protect the brisket from drying out too much. I personally do not spray anything on my meats while it’s cooking but that my personal preference. Spritzing your brisket every hour does help to keep it moist. Not familiar with Cajun Blast – I presume it’s on the spicy side. That in itself should not be a factor in your brisket coming out dry. Every time you open your MAK 1 Star you’re loosing heat and smoke but the MAK 1 will not have any problems recovering in a timely manner. After all, you’re not cooking by time but by internal temperature.

      Using the “Texas Crutch” – by double wrapping it in foil – will help to retain the moisture and will cook the brisket faster. As I stated in the recipe this will help overcome the “Stall” that will happen and it will also help to keep the moisture in. My recipe calls to raise the pit temp to 350ºF to finish the cook but you might try staying at 250ºF till you reach the internal temperature of 200º to 205ºF. I noticed that you allowed the brisket to rest for about 1 1/2 hours in the cooler which is good. I prefer 2 to 4 hours but again that my preference. You mentioned that you placed the brisket in a cooler and covered it with a towel. I recommend you wrap the double foiled brisket in a large towel and then placing it in the cooler. Again, that shouldn’t dry out the brisket.

      Bottom line: I don’t really see that you did anything wrong with your cook! No two briskets will ever cook the same. Curious to know what grade your brisket was. I’ve never had much luck with Select cuts of meat which is what most grocery stores provide. If in doubt ask the guy behind the meat counter.

      Hope that some of this helps. Don’t lose hope … keep smokin & cooking some brisket … there are a zillion recipes/methods for briskets. My recipe should have worked but I too still have my trials and tribulations when it comes to briskets.

      If you have any questions and/or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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