Spicy Drive-In Burgers

For as long as I can recall, my dad has been grilling up spicy, mouth watering hamburgers during the summer months. Just one of his many food specialties, perfected over the years. These burgers are now a staple in our household, with my wife and I regularly grilling them up.

Since I’ve been asked about the recipe a few times, I thought I’d share it here. Note, however, this recipe has been tweaked slightly from my dad’s original version, so any issues can be blamed on me.

Usually I’ll prepare roughly 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) of ground beef into an infantry of small patties. This amount represents the average size of the large mince packages found at our local grocery store. This produces around 30 patties, give or take, but don’t you dare hold me to that amount.

A colourful bowl of spices at the ready.

Burger Patties

  • 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) medium ground beef (full disclosure: more often than not I have to settle for the lean mince at our grocery store, but I prefer medium for the additional fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (add more after cooked, if required)
  • 1 large onion (chopped finely)
  • 2-3 crushed, fresh garlic cloves (optional – my dad hates garlic and would never use this in his burgers)
  • 1-3 jalapenos (chopped finely)
  • 1 bunch of parsley or coriander (optional)
Prepping the ingredients.

I like to mix all the spices together in a separate bowl before forming the burgers. Similarly with the garlic and onion. This allows me to add spice, onion, and garlic gradually as I break up and mix the mince in a large mixing bowl, helping ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

I’m not concerned with producing perfectly round patties, but I do want them thin.

I also prepare a whole wack of parchment paper ahead of time. I make squares big enough to fit the flattened patties on. Let’s call them five inches squared.

Once I have the ingredients prepared and set aside, and the parchment cut, I mix everything together (mince, spices, eggs) and begin forming the burgers.

I grab a small chunk of mince, roll the meat into a round ball the size of a meatball – maybe a bit larger – and flatten the patty out between two pieces of parchment. I don’t use any special ‘as seen on tv’ tools, but feel free to get creative.

I like my burgers thin. Like, super thin. I’m going for that 1950’s roller skating drive-in vibe. You know, the one I never experienced? I just figure these were the types of burgers they made.

Thin also means these bad boys are difficult to handle. You have to carefully remove the parchment when grilling them or they’ll just fall apart. There are other ways to do this (i.e. form the meatball and mash the patty on a pan on the stove top, but I’m grilling these, so that’s not an option).

I repeat this process until I have a few towers of super thin burgers. Usually we’ll end up cooking up a third of the batch, and freezing the rest. If freezing, avoid squishing the burgers together, or they’ll be difficult to separate once frozen.

Bonus! Toasted Buns

Toasting your buns on the grill is great, but for truly exceptional, drive-in style hamburgers, butter your buns and toast them on a piping hot pan over the stove. Ensure the butter is evenly spread out on each half of the bun. Aim to have a consistent golden bun when complete. Voila!


These burgers are meant to be thin. You can easily double, triple, or yes, even quadruple up the patties. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep the carb consumption low. Just go heavy on the patties.

Also, I didn’t mention the obvious, but you might want to throw a little cheddar on these hamburgers near the end. Your call. Lately I’ve been enjoying mine with a little ketchup, mayo, and hot peppers. Highly recommended.

Time to fire up the grill.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s