Editor's Note: To celebrate Pride Month, we invited Andre Springer, a.k.a. Shaquanda Coco Mulatta, to develop two burger recipes that use Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce, the line of hot sauces that pay homage to Andre's Brooklyn upbringing, his family’s Barbadian roots, and his identity as a drag queen.
I am a classic burger kind of human, but every so often I like to switch it up and do something a bit more special.
The first thing burger traditionalists will notice about these smashed burgers is that we're seasoning the ground beef in advance with hot sauce, fish sauce, and black pepper. That's something you don't normally do when you want a hamburger with a loose patty consistency, since mixing the meat with salt (in the form of fish sauce) will bind proteins and give the beef a little more of a meatloaf-like texture. But you know what they say: Sometimes you have to break a few rules to make a hot sauce burger. And, honestly, if you take care not to over-handle the beef when seasoning it—and you do a whole lot of really hard smashing in the pan—you aren't going to regret breaking with tradition at all.
I created this recipe using two different flavors of my Shaquanda's brand hot sauce: Hot Pepper Sauce and Oooohmami, the latter of which has an intense habanero heat, fruity sweetness from berries and onions, and a deep savoriness from black garlic. Neither has a flavor profile that's easy to replicate, but you can find instructions below on how to fake it in a pinch.
Just a few notes before you smash your beef: Make sure you have a very sturdy, wide metal spatula for this so you can really press the meat into a thin layer. It also helps to have a sturdy bench scraper on hand to help get every last bit of crispy seared beef up off the pan and onto your burgers. And, lastly, do make sure to set your buns and toppings up in advance, and work quickly to bang out all the smashed burgers back-to-back so you can eat them at their best, straight off the proverbial griddle.
- For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (120ml) ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce (see note)
- 1/2 tablespoon (7ml) Shaquanda's Oooohmami Hot Pepper Sauce (see note)
- For the Burgers:
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) Shaquanda's Oooohmami Hot Pepper Sauce (see note)
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (450g) ground beef, preferably 80-percent lean, divided into eight 2-ounce (55g) balls
- 4 soft hamburger rolls, buttered and toasted
- Toppings as desired, such as shredded lettuce, and thinly sliced onion, tomato, and sandwich pickles
- 4 slices good melting cheese, such as American
For the Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, vinegar, mayonnaise, and the two hot pepper sauces until well combined.
For the Burgers: In a small bowl, stir together hot sauce, fish sauce, and black pepper. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef with hot sauce mixture and gently fold until just incorporated, being careful not to over-mix the meat any more than necessary (it's okay if it's not fully mixed in). Divide beef into eight 2-ounce (55g) balls.
Prepare burger buns by arranging toppings on bottom halves of buns; spread sauce on top halves of buns. Have them nearby and ready for when the patties are cooked.
Preheat a large stainless steel sauté pan or skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Place 2 balls of beef in pan and smash down with a stiff metal spatula, using a second spatula to add pressure; smashed patties should be slightly wider than burger bun. Allow to cook until patties are well browned and tops are beginning to turn pale pink/gray in spots, about 45 seconds. Using a bench scraper or the back side of a stiff metal spatula, carefully scrape patties from pan, making sure to get all of the browned bits.
Flip patties and immediately place 1 slice of cheese over 1 patty, then stack the second patty directly on top. Immediately remove patties from pan and transfer to waiting burger bun. Scrape skillet well with thin metal spatula, wipe it clean, then repeat with remaining balls of beef and slices of cheese. Serve.
12-inch stainless-steel skillet, heavy metal spatula
Neither of the Shaquanda brand hot sauces are easy to replicate, but if you don't have them you can still get great results by using another chile-forward hot sauce like Cholula Original for the Hot Pepper Sauce. In place of the Oooohmami, you can mix together 3 tablespoons of that same chile-forward hot sauce with 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
Make-ahead and Storage
The sauce can be mixed together and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using.