Smash Burgers with Secret Sauce

I never really loved burgers (outside of the ones my maman makes) until Gott’s Roadside came along. A Napa institution, Gott’s has made its way around the Bay Area. The produce is fresh, the meat is local, and there are no iffy secret ingredients. We occasionally have Gott’s as a treat, and this is how I’ve come to love burgers. And now I make a homestyle version myself, and truth be told, it’s the sauce that really carries these burgers. Don’t skip the chipotle peppers here — they’re what take these burgers over the top.

Smash burgers with secret sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 chipotles in adobo and sauce from a can
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (20% percent fat)
4 hamburger rolls
1/2 head of romaine or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated, torn into pieces about the size of the buns
1 onion, very thinly sliced into rings
4 thin tomato slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 thin slices cheddar cheese

1. Heat a cast-iron griddle over high until heated.

2. Make the sauce: mix together pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, adobo sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set special sauce aside.

3. Divide beef into 4 6-ounce portions (don’t form into patties). Place portions between 2 sheets of parchment paper, spacing 6 inches apart, and, using a meat mallet, firmly smash to create patties, about 5″ across. Transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Quickly warm the hamburger buns in the hot skillet, turning once, until buns are warmed through, about 1 minute. Spread sauce over cut sides of buns. Place 3–4 pieces of lettuce on bottom buns and top each with some onion and a tomato slice.

5. Add oil to skillet. Season patties lightly with salt. Place patties in skillet, seasoned side down, and season top sides lightly with salt. Cook, undisturbed, until outer edges are brown and undersides are crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer patties to buns with toppings.

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