There’s no denying it, whether a “sometimes” or “all-the-time” burger eater, we all love a good hamburger when the moment is right. Hamburgers can be found in countries around the world and are probably the most popular food on the planet. Toasty buns, savoury meat patty, melted cheese, dressed to your liking…comfort food doesn’t get much more comfortable. Despite the fact that I am surrounded by today’s delicious new burger joints and gourmet burger options, I tend to gravitate back towards the classic. I’m a sucker for a simple, thin, charbroiled patty on a fluffy toasted bun. There is no school like the old school, after all.
In a burger mood one night, I experimented with trying to create a simple diner-style hamburger sandwich at home. The results were incredibly DELISH! I was always so busy adding ingredients to my ground burger-meat, that I never thought to keep it simple and use…JUST MEAT when making burgers. These thin beef patties turned out surprisingly juicy and flavourful.
The first time around I served the patties on toasted Italian bread, for a perfect “burger sammie”. We were hooked, and these became a “quick dinner” staple at home. As word got out that my burgers were addictively yummy, I decided to have a weekend “burger party”. I was lucky enough to have a wonderfully talented friend bake homemade burger buns! (As you can see in the photos, they were perfectly baked. He even added a sprinkling of sesame seeds. A+!)
This is my take on America’s “favourite” sandwich. For the finishing touch I mixed together a “special sauce” for my burgers, a homemade version of McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce. It’s burger-sauce-crack and will add the perfect creamy, pickle-y tang to your sandwich. I dressed my burgers with simple toppings, but you can use any dressings you like! Play it up or keep it simple. These burger sammies are perfect for lunch, dinner, a meal with friends or a late night bite! They are really quick to make, and the patties freeze well too!
No more shameful trips to the drive-thru window! (Don’t do it!) Satisfy your cravings in your own kitchen, for a healthier, yummier, cheaper version!
Always remember BURGER SAFETY. You can refer back to my post on why you HAVE to safely cook ground beef!
Thin, Diner-Style Beef Burger Patties
Makes 4-6 patties
- Ground beef (about 1 1/4 pounds or the average tray of ground beef from the grocery store)
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 4-6 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
- You will also need plastic wrap & a rolling pin
Special Sauce (For Burgers)
- 1/2 cup mayonaise (any kind will work: organic, no-egg, regular. *I find Miracle Whip has a bit of different flavour, I prefer not to use it.)
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet pickle relish**
- 1/2 tablespoon dill pickle relish** ** Instead of relish I put half a small dill pickel and a few sliced sweet pickles in the food processor for finely chopped pickles. But if you’ve got relish, and it’s more convenient for you, by all means use the relish.
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry minced onion
- 1 tablespoon of very hot or boiling water (to rehydrate the dry onions)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
**I like to prep all my burger toppings before making the burgers. That way everything is ready to throw together when the patties are cooked. I simply dress these burgers with aged cheddar, finely chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, chopped lettuce, sliced sweet pickles, ketchup, mustard & Special Sauce. Add any other toppings you like! Hot peppers or bacon could be good additions.
Making Special Sauce:
1. The first step is to rehydrate your dried onions. You want them to be soft, not dry and hard. Add about a tablespoon of hot (just boiled) water to your teaspoon of dry, minced onion. You want to use just enough water that the onions absorb it all. Let it sit for a minute or two to soften.
2. If you are using pickles (as opposed to relish), throw them in a food processor or chop them very finely. I always use pickles (a mixture of half dill pickle and half sweet pickles). Using the sweet pickles helps add a bit more sweetness, using all dills may make your sauce more tangy/sour.
3. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You can add more of less of any ingredient to taste. If you find it too sour, add a little more sugar to cut the tanginess. A little more paprika or ketchup will darken your sauce up a bit. Do some taste tests and play around with it.
4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you cook the burger patties.
1. Divide your ground beef into 4-6 even mounds (depending on how many patties you want and how big you want them). I usually make 6 with about 1- 1.5 lbs of ground beef.
2. Shape each mound of beef into a good, tight ball with your hands. I also prep the plastic wrap before hand (2 sheets per patty) so I don’t get my raw meat-hands on everything.
3. Place your ball of beef on a sheet of plastic wrap and then lay another sheet over top. (You are sandwiching the ground beef between the two plastic sheets).
4. Roll the mound flat with a rolling pin, about 1/3 inch thick (or to your liking), creating a thin patty. Roll evenly by rolling horizontally and vertically. Repeat with remaining ground beef. Leave between the plastic on while you roll out your other patties.
5. Heat a pan or griddle over medium-high heat.
6. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and lightly salt and pepper the patty. I then flip it over in my hand, remove bottom plastic wrap and plop onto the hot pan. I do this with 3 patties quickly. I cook them three at a time, but cook as many as can fit on your griddle/pan. **Wash your hand afterwards!**
7. Cook patties for about 3 minutes, pressing down on them with a spatula. Reduce heat slightly, flip over and top the patty with cheese. Let it cook another 2-3 minutes, until cheese starts to melt. Remove from pan and repeat until you’ve cooked all the patties. **Sometimes I keep them warm on a baking tray in the oven at around 150 degrees, while I’m cooking the other patties. But these cook so quickly you may not find that necessary.
8. Toast your bread. I love these as burger sandwiches, but you can use regular hamburger buns or buttered rolls as well.
9. Pile ’em high with all your toppings. Don’t forget your Special Sauce! I like a single patty, but if you’re feeling extra hungry, double up!
I love the flavour of burgers off the grill, but cooking them in a pan is just as tasty! As the warm weather is fast approaching, you could take these patties outside and make them on the barbeque! Call up the gang and party burger-style! 🙂
Here are some photos from our build-your-own burger night! It’s a great idea for a dinner with friends. Cook the burgers, get your bread/buns ready and set up the toppings. Your guests can do the rest! Oven-baked wedge fries and sautéed Swiss chard made it a perfect meal!
yum yum. now tell us about your sides…
Haha! Thanks for reading, Ned. I actually make those wedge fries all the time. They’re so good! I’ll post the recipe soon! 🙂
The Swiss chard was brought over by a friend. It was DELICIOUS! I’ll have to try and find out exactly how it was done.
I’ve never considered using toasted bread slices as the bun before, but this looks delicious! With a recipe like this, forget drive-thru. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Scott! I personally am not a big hamburger bun fan, so thinner bread slices are perfect for me. They are so yummy, and not as fast as the drive-thru, but still pretty quick to make! Hope you get a chance to try making them at home. 🙂