If you like burgers, you’re going to love this easy smashed garlic burger with jalapeños – with its special technique Brian came up with to infuse the meat with garlic flavor, just like his favorite burgers from brew pubs. You don’t have to top them with the jalapeños if you don’t want, but pickled jalapeños add tons of flavor and aren’t really that hot – you may like them if you try them!
Do you have brew pubs where you live? They’re everywhere here in the Pacific Northwest and besides brewing beer, they’re also known for great burgers, which Brian loves. Me? I can take or leave burgers (and if I take them, it’s often without the bun) but they’re a regular on our menus because the rest of my family would eat them every other day, probably.
Burgers you get at brew pubs are packed with a lot of flavor, often grass-fed beef, usually have some kind of artisan bread for a bun (focaccia, sourdough, ciabatta buns, etc.), and have toppings that go beyond the normal lettuce-tomato-onion, like sautéed onions or mushrooms and cheeses like blue, muenster, and jalapeño-jack. But at $10-12 each, they’re an occasional treat for us.
So Brian wanted to recreate one of his favorite brew pub burgers on our backyard grill using my easy homemade buns, a spicy sauce (just jalapeño mustard mixed with Greek yogurt), Tillamook sharp cheddar, lots of garlic, and his beloved pickled jalapeños I make for him every year. Sweet onion and garden lettuce round out the ingredients (our spicy refrigerator pickles are for the plates, along with some hearty kettle chips – gotta recreate the pub experience!).
He found that smashing fresh, minced garlic into one side of the beef patties gave them the best flavor (more intense than simply mixing into the the patties before shaping), which is why we decided to name them Smashed Garlic Burgers. And he also remembered to shape the patties with a divot in the center (thicker around the edges) which keeps them flatter as they cook and shrink. (Note: our ground meat package was 1-1/4 lbs., which is why there are 5 patties pictured – the recipe below is for 1 lb. meat to serve four.)
Start them on the grill with the garlic side up to allow the garlic to cook a bit into the burger (we find using a grill pan like this one evens out the heat and helps them cook without as much charring). Turn and sprinkling the other side with your favorite spice mix (we used this spice rub) or salt, if you want, grilling until done.
The buns you get on brew pub burgers always seem special. So Brian upped the ante on our normally great homemade buns by brushing the cut sides with olive oil, sprinkling with garlic powder and grilling a bit until lightly toasted. Yum! These are not your ordinary buns (you bet I didn’t pass on these, though I did cut it in half).
- 1 lb. ground beef, preferably grass-fed
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
- 2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
- spice rub (optional)
- 1 tsp. spicy mustard (we used a jalapeño mustard)
- 1-1/2 TB Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 4 pieces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 slices sweet onion
- 4 lettuce leaves
- pickled jalapeño peppers for topping (if desired)
- 4 high quality burger buns
- olive oil and garlic salt for buns
- dill pickles & chips for serving
- Mix ground meat with the salt and pepper. Shape into 4 patties with slight divots in the centers and thicker edges (this helps keep the burger from cooking with a raised center). Set patties on an unheated grill pan or a plate. Add ½ teaspoon of minced garlic to the center of each patty. Using the back of a fork, smash the garlic all over and into the the patty (on the one side).
- Mix mustard and yogurt together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Prepare the toppings and set aside.
- Prepare the buns by brushing each side with olive oil and sprinkling with a bit of garlic powder and place by the grill to be ready for toasting.
- Heat grill to high and cook patties over direct heat, starting with the garlic side up, turning once (and sprinkling plain side with spice rub, if desired) until cooked through, about 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 155-160 (or until your desired doneness).
- Just before burgers are cooked, toast the prepared buns over lower heat, cut side down, until lightly done.
- Assemble burgers: place patties on bun half and top with cheese, onion, lettuce and jalapeños. Smear each top bun with the mustard-yogurt sauce and place atop the stacked burger.
- Serve with pickles and kettle chips, if desired. Oh- and a good brewed beer if you want.
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