Frisco Patty Melt

February 2021 Burger Of The Month is the Frisco Patty Melt! This is a play on the Steak ‘n Shake “Frisco Melt” however it is not a copycat recipe.

The patty melt is one of my favorite burgers. There’s just something about it being on grilled bread as opposed to a bun. It is interesting to note that the patty melt in some ways brings the burger idea back to its roots as a sandwich with the use of sliced bread as opposed to a bun. That is of course if you choose to argue that the historical origin of the sandwich makes any meat placed between two slices of bread as opposed to a bun more original… People from Philly may disagree.

Either way I’ve seen several versions of the patty melt. Traditionally a patty melt is a burger patty topped with swiss cheese and caramelized onion, which is then placed between two slices of grilled bread. Contrary to popular belief the bread does not have to be sourdough. However, the use of swiss cheese and caramelized onions is widely popular and will be the ingredients you find at most restaurants where patty melts are served.

The second version of the patty melt is one that circulates around Fast food chains, such as Hardee’s and Jack In The Box. This version introduces additional toppings of bacon, tomato, and mayo. They may use sourdough or they may not depending on how it’s advertised, and it could be one burger patty or two. Personally I’m not a fan of the idea that “bigger is better,” which is a recurring theme in fast food restaurants and would rather see the grilled bread remain in the spotlight.

The third version of the patty melt is as old as the earliest records of the traditional patty melt itself, which is Steak ‘n Shake’s version called the “Frisco Melt.” San Francisco natives may not approve of the name having implications that it is a San Francisco invention, and despite the fact that Los Angeles natives argue that the patty melt originates in L.A. the idea for Steak ‘n Shake’s naming of the “Frisco Melt” comes from the bread used which is sourdough. Bakers in San Francisco are credited historically for keeping the tradition of sourdough bread baking alive throughout the 1900’s, and by using sourdough bread for their recipe that’s how they came up with the name.

What I want to do here is make a patty melt using the theme in Steak ‘n Shake’s Frisco Melt. I won’t be grinding three different types of meat to make my patty, because who has a meat grinder at home or the time for that? And I won’t be using two patties either because I want to keep it simple. I will however mimic their sauce for the burger, which like many “special sauces” for burgers is a combination of a few store bought salad dressings and condiments.

So for this recipe I’ll keep it simple; grilled sourdough, burger patty, a slice of American cheese, and “Frisco sauce.” Aside from some seasoning that’s it, so let’s get to it then!


  • 8 ounces 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 2 slices of Sourdough Bread
  • 1 slice of American Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Thousand Island Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 Cup French Salad Dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper

Nutrition Facts:

  • Total Fat: 56.5g
  • Cholesterol: 178.8mg
  • Sodium: 1,356.7mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 49.1g
  • Sugar: 8.3g
  • Protein: 50.2g
  • Vitamin D: 0%
  • Calcium: 29.9%
  • Iron: 32%
  • Potassium: 16mg
  • Vitamin A: 3.5%
  • Vitamin C: 0.2%


  1. In a mixing bowl add 1/4 Cup Thousand Island Salad Dressing, 1/4 Cup French Salad Dressing, 1 Tablespoon Ketchup, and 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce. Whisk together until ingredients are combined to make your Frisco sauce. This will make about 1/3 Cup of sauce, plenty for 4 burgers.
  2. Patty an 8 ounce burger patty then smash it down nice and thin on a plate. Season the top with freshly ground salt and pepper, or desired burger seasoning mix.
  3. Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet just below medium heat and add slices of sourdough bread, grilling both sides until desired. Remove grilled bread from skillet and set aside.
  4. Add burger patty seasoned side down to skillet. If it looks like it’s going to stick give it a minute and you’ll see that the rendered fat (what most people call grease) from the burger will now allow your patty to move freely. Cook for several minutes until you see some juices form up on the top of your patty, then flip it.
  5. Once you flip it you can add your slice of American cheese. Cook for several more minutes until cheese is nice and melted and you have reached desired burger temp. I like my steaks medium rare, but my burgers medium well. I’ll leave that preference up to you.
  6. Place cooked burger patty onto bottom slice of grilled bread and top it with a hit of Frisco sauce and the top slice of grilled bread. And that’s it, serve and enjoy!

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