How to Get Your Burger Fix Without a Grill

Two words: patty melt.

May 23, 2020
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James Briscione's Patty Melt, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Lauren Volo

Lauren Volo

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With warm weather quickly approaching, many of us are getting ready to fire up the backyard grill. However, if you live in a small space (read: teeny-tiny apartment) or don’t own proper outdoor grilling equipment, you might experience a bit of FOMO. After all, what better way to kick off summer than a juicy, flame-grilled burger?

Turns out, you don’t need a grill in order to satisfy your burger craving. In a class on the Food Network Kitchen app, James Briscione demonstrates an easy solution for your grilling woes: a patty melt. This classic diner sandwich consists of a hamburger patty, caramelized onions and melty cheese, meaning you get all those cheeseburger flavors you love sandwiched between two slices of rye bread. The best part? You can cook it up right on your stove. Here’s how:

James Briscione's Patty Melt, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Lauren Volo

Lauren Volo

Caramelize Onions

Just like any good burger, James’ Patty Melts take a little bit of time to come together. He starts with the most time-consuming part of the process: caramelizing onions. To do so, he slices up a yellow onion and throws the slices into a hot, oiled pan alongside garlic, stirring occasionally. To save yourself some time, James suggests prepping the onions the night before and reheating them.

Form Your Patties

While the onions soften and slowly turn deep golden brown, he seasons his ground beef with seasoned salt and black pepper and forms it into patties. When sculpting his patties, James notes that the shape of each one should match that of the bread. Since this sandwich is made with oblong pieces of rye bread, he forms his beef into thin, football-shaped patties. Pro tip: make sure your hamburger patties are slightly bigger than the bread since they’ll shrink down while cooking.

Fire Up the “Grill”

Once his beef patties are ready to go, James adds vegetable oil to the flat side of a large grill pan and cranks up the heat. If you don’t have a grill pan, a large sauté pan or a large cast iron skillet will also get the job done. You just need to use a pan that will give you a nice sear on your meat.

Place your patties on the pan, making sure not to overcrowd it. Give each patty plenty of room to breathe — if your pan isn’t large enough to fit all of them at once, James recommends cooking them in rounds. Also, since you’re working with thin patties on high heat, make sure to keep an eye on the stove!

Assemble Your Patty Melts

Next, grab your rye bread and spread an even layer of mayonnaise on one side of each piece. James heats up his patty melts on the same grill pan that cooked the hamburger patties; the mayonnaise helps the bread get perfectly crisp on the outside.

Turn down the heat from high to low and arrange the bread onto the grill pan (mayo-side down). Then, stack two slices of white cheddar cheese, a cooked hamburger patty, a handful of caramelized onions and two more slices of white cheddar cheese on top. Finish with another slice of rye bread (mayo-side up).

Check the bottom of each sandwich for a golden-brown crust. James says that lifting up the sandwich for a peek is a-OK. Carefully flip your patty melt, wait for the cheese to melt and remove from heat. Sure enough, you’ll have a gooey, cheesy burger substitute, no backyard grilling required!

Find James’ entire class (plus more delicious tips and tricks) on the Food Network Kitchen app. And if you whip up a patty melt, use the tag #WeCook when you post photos of your creation on Instagram. You might just see them on our page!

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