Imagine if a hamburger ran straight on into a grilled cheese sandwich.
That’s what a patty melt is. It’s everything you want and more in a sandwich. It’s like if a hamburger all of a sudden grew up went to college, got his masters, but on the weekends still likes to cut loose a little bit. How’s that for personification?
The patty melt is in fact a hamburger. But instead of a bun you use sliced bread. You’re supposed to use rye bread, I personally chose to not use rye bread for this recipe. Why? Because I think the rye would take away from the flavor of the meat and the cheese. I went with a fresh sliced white sandwich bread instead. The end result you ask? Weight gain.
Patty melt’s typically include a hamburger patty, caramelized onions, and cheese. They join together to form an unholy alliance of fat, that in turn will wreck havoc on your arteries. So yeah the patty melt is not an everyday food staple you should be eating. But oh boy should it be something that you use to treat yourself. Because food rewards are healthy and lead to good decisions down the road…said nobody ever.
The sandwich itself is to have found its roots in the 1940’s and 50’s with the diner boom that swept the nation. Diners were serving up patty melts and people were chowing them down. But a funny thing happened, the patty melt kind of disappeared and fell out of fashion.
But I’m here to say that it needs to come back in fashion, because unlike some of the other not great things from the 50’s like uhh lots of bad social stuff the patty melt is timeless and a delicious meal that anyone can enjoy.
So sit back, actually don’t sit back, make this, eat it, and then sit back. You’re probably going to fall asleep. That’s okay though.
Recipe – Patty Melt
(Makes 2 Sandwiches)
12 oz. Ground Beef (80/20)
1/2 Cup of White Onion Diced
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Onion Powder
4 Slices of Cheddar Cheese
4 Slices of Swiss Cheese
4 Pieces of White or Rye Bread (I like it with White)
Lots of Butter
2 Tbsp. Mayo
Carmelized Onions – 2 Tbsp. Butter & 1 Whole Onion Sliced
First, make your carmelized onions. Heat the butter in a pot, then as it begins to foam, add your onions. Stir, put the lid on the pot and cook until they turn golden brown. This process can take a little while, be sure to use a little bit of white wine, chicken broth, or water to deglaze the pot a little bit to prevent the onions from burning.
I super charged my onions. How? I made pot roast sauce ice cubes and threw them a couple in with my onions. The end result was magical, but it’s purely optional.
Take your half cup of diced onion and puree it. Then add it along with your other spices and mix it with your hands into the ground beef. If you have time, allow the patties to marinate in this for at least 30 minutes.
Let your meat reach room temperature. This will allow for optimal cooking without overcooking your meat.
Once your onions are ready, form your meat into thin patties. I like to make them almost into squares so they can fit better on the bread. Make them about a 1/4 inch thick.
Cook the patties to whatever level of doneness you prefer. Since you’re making this at home, you can probably dance on the wild side and cook the meat to a medium internal temperature. If you are making this for young children or senior citizens, cook it well done. Nobody wants a patty melt adventure ruined by a trip to the hospital.
Okay once the patties are cooked it’s time to act fast because you don’t want them to dry out. Place the patties on a plate, you can even set them on top of one another so their juices soak into each other.
Butter your bread generously on the side that will touch the pan. Now add a slice of the cheddar to each piece of bread. Then add a slice of Swiss cheese to each piece of bread.
Heat up some butter in the pan you intend to cook the patty melt in. Place the butter side of the bread down and slowly move the bread around being careful that it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile, you want to look for the cheese to look like it’s beginning to melt. Once you’ve reached the threshold of melting, remove the pieces of bread from the pan.
Now assemble your patty melt, place your beef patty on top of the bread, spread some mayo ontop of the patty, then add your onions. Put the other piece of bread on top and your sandwich is complete. Now add more butter to the pan, make sure the pan is hot, the butter should foam. Now add your sandwich to the pan (sort of like a toasted cheese sandwich), press down on the pan sandwich with a long spatula. Be careful not to burn the bread, you might need more butter (yeah this ain’t a health food folks).
Once you can see the cheese becoming gooey and melty, remove it and serve immediately. Eat it with some no fry french fries and pickles!