Candied Jalapeño Burger Sauce
Candied jalapeño burger sauce is exactly what I want on my burger.
We’ve been on a smash burger kick this summer. Also called tavern burgers in our neck of the woods, this is the style where thin, pressed patties are seared in a skillet or flat top, added to a toasted bun, and typically topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, minced white onion, and a killer sauce. American cheese and some dill pickle slices are common as well.
But for us, smash burgers are all about the signature sauce.
We tried one that was Asian-inspired, stirring in a little soy sauce and thinly sliced scallions. Decent… but didn’t quite feel like the right note to strike. We tried a more classic approach with mayo, mustard, ketchup, and dill relish. (I actually really love the classic approach, for what it’s worth.) Both were good, but we wanted to have some fun and thought we could take it a step further.
And then a jar of candied jalapeños at the back of the fridge popped into our heads! That poor jar has been sitting in there forever, completely ignored. And now we’re nearly out because we can’t get enough of this recipe!
Here’s why I think you’ll like this sauce.
Recognizing that this is a subjective thing, I’ll still say that the basics of flavor development will always apply: sweet, salt, bitter, and sour. Hit those in balance, and you’ll likely have a winner on your hands. And that’s what you’re getting with this Candied Jalapeño Burger Sauce.
The sweetness of the candied jalapeño play with the sea salt, each underscored by the subtle bitterness of finely diced shallots. Sour? I think the syrup the jalapeños are soaking in brings the tang. All of that is painted on a creamy canvas of good mayonnaise (something we are a little obsessed with) and, well, it’s just all kinds of right. Because we prefer not to use cheese on our burgers, a mayo-based sauce hits the mark.
If you get a chance to make this, I’d love to hear how it went!
Did you ramp up the jalapeños? Did you make the smash burger style too? Let’s swap ideas in the comments below! Also, weigh in: is it a smash burger or a tavern burger?
On another note:
I wanted to mention that we’ve really gotten into grinding our own beef for burgers this summer.
We still have our workhorse of a mixer from years ago, so we opted for a Kitchen Aid attachment. However, there are free-standing options too.
Freshness aside, we’re loving the control we have to steer flavor and fat content. Fat lends itself to luscious flavor and juicy texture which just sells itself, right? The consensus is that about 25% overall fat content is ideal. So we play around with different cuts of beef–fatty brisket, a cheap hunk of round, whatever–in order to find that balance. It’s also pretty great to use when we want to make 50/50 burgers, combining beef with pork shoulder.
It’s much easier than I originally assumed it would be. It really does make a difference in that signature thin, pressed patties that set Smash Burgers apart from other styles.
If this is something you’ve been considering, this is the Universe saying “Doooo Itttttt!” 🙂
Here’s how to make Candied Jalapeño Burger Sauce.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup candied jalapenos chopped
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp candied jalapeno syrup (from the jar)
- Chop the candied jalapenos, mince the garlic, and finely dice the shallot.
- Using a rubber scraper, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Slather on prepared burgers before serving.
Want to make my Smash Burger? Here’s how we did it:
- Using about two pounds of ground chuck, press into six thin patties and season liberally with Maldon salt and ground black pepper.
- In a screaming hot cast-iron skillet, add a tablespoon of avocado oil and cook for two or three minutes on the first side and about a minute on the second. The goal is crisped edges and still cooked to medium temperature in the middle.
- Butter both sides of a brioche bun and place under the broiler. Remove as soon as the buns are golden brown.
- Shred about two cups’ worth of iceberg lettuce
- Finely dice about a half cup of white or sweet onion
- Add a schmear of Candied Jalapeño Burger Sauce to both sides of the toasted bun, then a handful of shredded iceberg lettuce, and a spoonful of chopped onions.
- Place the seared burger patty over the lettuce and onion, and fold together to complete the burger.
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