I’m not a huge hamburger fan.
But patty melts are amazing. They’re grilled cheese sandwiches on steroids.
Burgers and patty melts are not the same thing. Agreed, they have the same ingredients, but they are cooked completely differently.
Patty melts are pan-fried. The patty is sandwiched between a grilled cheese with a bunch of slowly sautéed onions and a smear of jacked-up mayo.
I order patty melts at restaurants instead of burgers, but they are so easy to make at home.
There are a few things needed to make restaurant-quality patty melts at home. Number one is getting good quality hamburger. I suggest going to your local butcher shop and asking for ground chuck or another good cut. I also am a huge fan of fresh, not frozen hamburger. When ground beef is frozen some of the moisture leaches out and the meat will be drier—no matter what you do during the cooking process.
I like to use Texas toast for my patty melts. The bread is sturdy and grills up toasty golden brown when buttered.
Use real butter on the bread. Real butter has milk proteins in it, and when the proteins are cooked, they leave behind a yummy caramelized butter flavor.
Use a cast iron pan or another type of heavy skillet. The heat transfer is better. The pan will not cool down and make your grilled bread soggy when the butter’s moisture is cooked out. It will also cook the meat better. Thin pans cool down when the meat is added, and the meat will lose moisture and the patty will be dry.
Patty Melts with Steak Seasoning Mayo
1 lb. 80% lean ground chuck beef, divided
8 thin slices of Monterey jack cheese
8 slices of Texas toast
8 tbsp. butter, divided
2 onions, sliced thin
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ tbsp. sour cream
½ tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, cook the onions and ¼ cup of butter over medium-low heat for 20 minutes stirring frequently until golden brown and tender. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Divide the hamburger into 4 equally sized portions. Shape each one into a square that fits the size of the bread. Salt and pepper each. Heat the skillet until very hot. Add the patties, working two at a time. Sear the meat, sealing in the juices, about 2 minutes, and flip. Cook until the patty is done. Set aside and repeat with the remaining two patties.
Butter one side of each slice of the bread. Wipe out the pan and place two slices of the bread buttered side down and spoon a dollop of the mayo on each slice. Top with one slice of cheese, one patty, and a ¼ cup of the onions. Top each with another slice of cheese and the remaining butter bread slice (the buttered side facing out). Cook until bread is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches. Serve immediately.
Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.