Who says a patty melt isn’t a burger? My good friend, Shea Goldstein at Dixie Chik Cooks. That’s who!
While the history of this buttery, beefy, heavenly sandwich is cloudy at best, we do know that it’s been served at diners and burger joints in the U.S. since at least the 1940s. The classic version is served on rye, with cheese meat and grilled onions — not exactly your run of the mill hamburger, but a hamburger nonetheless. My version, which I developed for my third foodie fight with Shea marries some classic with some not-so classic.
Why does my Pimento Cheese Patty Melt w/ Peppery Brown Sugar Bacon belong on your table? Well, the name alone should be enough to entice even the most discerning burger connoisseur, but just think about it — tangy Classic Southern Pimento Cheese … sweet, salty and slightly peppery smoked bacon … garden-sweet caramelized onions … and we’ve not even gotten to the meat of the sandwich!
Though this is a competition between myself and the wife of my twin brother from another mother, I seriously want you to go check out Shea’s offering too. Unlike some of the corny TV shows out there, neither of us will win any cash. And we hope not to incur anyone’s over-the-top wrath because of … ratings.
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Pimento Cheese Patty Melt w/ Peppery Brown Sugar Bacon
- 2 lbs - Ground beef (76/24 fat ratio is the best for these)
- 1 lb - Thick cut bacon
- ⅓ cup - Light brown sugar
- 1 TB - Freshly ground black pepper (for bacon)
- 2 - Medium onions, sliced
- 1 TB - Vegetable oil
- 1 recipe - Classic Southern Pimento Cheese
- 12 slices - Jewish rye
- Mayonnaise or butter (for spreading on the bread to grill)
- About 2 TB - Kosher salt
- 1 TB - Freshly ground black pepper (for hamburger patties)
- Prepared (yellow) mustard
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- On a foil-lined baking sheet, place bacon slices; sprinkle with brown sugar and 1 TB black pepper.
- Bake until bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until lightly carmelized — about 10-15 minutes.
- Form six patties, about a half-inch thick.
- Grill over high heat until seared on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side (or 3-4 minutes per side, if you want a well-done burger).
- Remove from grill and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Spread one side of each bread slice with mayonnaise or butter (mayo browns bread beautifully).
- On the bottom slice, place about ⅓ cup pimento cheese; top with burger patty, two bacon slices; a large spoonful of caramelized onions and a squirt or two of mustard.
- Top the sandwich with another slice of bread and grill over medium-high heat about 2 minutes per side until nicely browned.