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by on October 27th, 2014

The Ultimate Patty Melt

A Diner special…..

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I feel like I have led a very sheltered life when it comes to sandwiches; bologna – yes, ham and cheese – yes, some great pulled pork – yes, reuben – yes, pimento cheese, tuna and the usual sandwich spreads; but I have never had a patty melt. So, it’s just a hamburger you say, well this so called burger wanna be was great. Every bite crunchy from the toasted rye bread and the cheese gooey because it was browned very slowly.

The Patty Melt is a sandwich that is probably on every diner’s menu and I read it originated in the 40’s-50’s from California restaurateur Tiny Naylor. He had, I think, one of the first drive-in diners. The sandwich isn’t a grilled cheese, it isn’t a burger or a reuben; it’s a mixture of all of those. American, cheddar or Swiss can be used or in this case, I’m using white cheddar and Swiss so I get a little more goo. You want an oval shaped patty also so it will fill all corners of your rye bread.

From everything I have read on the subject of Patty Melts a good light colored rye bread is a must and you want to have a big heaping pile of caramelized onions ready to top the patty. Some other tips I read about are make sure your patty is thin and “oval” in shape (mine wasn’t because I had this big pile of meat and wanted to use it), use mayonnaise instead of butter to spread on the “outside” of the bread before toasting because it has a higher smoke point (I’m using both), and the sandwich bread is grilled (not toasted).

I’m breaking with tradition and adding two strips of bacon. What more can I say about a hamburger crossing over to become this delicious sandwich. Serve this with some french fries (I did a salad) and sit back and enjoy this fantastic sandwich.

Another tip for making this delicious crunchy sandwich — I put cheddar on one side of the rye and Swiss on the other side; then I used the mayo/butter mixture and buttered the outside of the bread and then toasted them very, very slowly on a griddle cheese side up and not put together like a grilled cheese. This way you will achieve golden brown rye bread with the cheese starting to melt. Add your burger and onions and then top with other piece of bread/cheese and continue toasting for a few minutes more. If you raise the heat too high then your bread will get browned too quickly before the cheese starts melting into the bread and burger.

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Simple ingredients for a delicious sandwich? burger?

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Mix the melted or room temperature butter with the mayonnaise.

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Caramelize the onions very slowly.

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Cook your oval shaped patties until your desired doneness.

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You can see one slice of bread has the white cheddar and one slice has the Swiss cheese.

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Add two slices of fried bacon to two of the pieces that have the same type of cheese on them.

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Top with the burger patty and a a big pile of the caramelized onions.

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Top with the other piece of toast  bread/cheese, and continue flipping for a few more minutes to meld everything together.

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I know this just looks like a hamburger with a different bread but you will love the crunch that toasting the rye bread gives to this sandwich.

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The Ultimate Patty Melt

Light colored rye bread
1 lb. hamburger meat (80/20) (make 3-4 thin OVAL patties)
2 onions, sliced very thin
1 Tbsp. butter or oil
2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature or melted
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
slices of cheddar (white or yellow)
slices of swiss
2 slices of bacon, fried, per sandwich
mustard, optional

Heat the 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in heavy skillet and add your thinly sliced onions and brown very slowly until they are caramelized. Set aside until ready to put burger together.

Season your meat with whatever spices you usually use on your hamburgers and form into oval patties. They are suppose to be thin but I made mine thicker.

Mix the mayonnaise and butter and set aside.  Take one slice of rye and put a slice of Swiss cheese on top then butter the outside with some of the mayo/butter mixture. Do the same with the second piece of rye bread but put the white cheddar on top (you can use all the same kind of cheese if you want) and spread with the mayo/butter mixture.

Heat a flat griddle and add the bread slices, cheese up and start browning VERY slowly. You do not want the bread to get too toasty before the cheese starts to melt. When it looks like you have accomplished this, put the two pieces of cooked bacon on top of one slice of bread/cheese, top with the cooked burger patty then some of the cooked onions and then the other slice of bread/cheese that has been toasting away. (You can add some mustard to one side of the bread if you like.)

Leave this on the griddle for about 5-6 minutes longer, turning every minute or so, just don’t get too brown. (You can add some spicy mustard to the burger before putting on the last piece of toasted bread.

Yum, this was delicious — every bite crunchy and makes my mouth water right now just thinking about the night we had this sandwich ? burger?  You decide.

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1 comment to The Ultimate Patty Melt

  • I have loved Reuben’s for years. Never had bacon, but you can gild the lily by adding a slice or two of fried green tomatoes. Then sit back and say, “Ahhhh…”

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