Dish of the Week: The Crown Burger

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

With the weather heating up, it’s burger time. So this week, we’re sharing a recipe that’s worthy of a spot in your burger rotation: the Crown Burger

Named after a small fast-food chain popular in Salt Lake City, the Crown Burger is the chain’s standard cheeseburger crowned with griddled pastrami and Utah fry sauce – a mix of mayo, ketchup, sugar, white vinegar and relish that’s basically a simple Russian dressing.

After gaining popularity throughout Salt Lake City, the burger spread throughout the country. Even Carl’s Jr. got in the action with the release of its Pastrami Burger.

It’s an awesome way to switch up your burger game. The patties can be grilled, pan-fried or broiled – just make sure you crown ’em with the good stuff.

This recipe, slightly adapted from Kelsey Nixon, uses Swiss cheese, but you can use American if you want to imitate the original.  

The Crown Burger (a.k.a. Pastrami Burger)

makes 4
For the Burgers:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (about 20% fat)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
8 ounces pastrami, thinly sliced
8 slices cheese (Swiss or American)
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, split, buttered and toasted

For the Utah Fry Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons hot dog relish

Optional for serving: shredded lettuce, kettle chips or fries


Make the fry sauce: Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, sugar, vinegar and relish in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Loosely shape the beef into 4 equal patties about 1/2-inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. Sprinkle each side of the patties generously with salt and pepper. Create a small well in the center of each patty, using your thumb, to help your burger cook evenly.

Heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add the pastrami and cook until browned and crisp on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Next, add the burger patties and cook until browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Top each burger with 2 slices of the cheese and continue cooking until the cheese is melted.

Slather a spoonful of Utah Fry Sauce on each side of the buns. Add the beef patties and top with pastrami. If desired, add shredded lettuce and/or a pile of potato chips for crunch.

Finish with the top bun and serve with chips or fries and sauce on the side.
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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano