Blue Cheese Smash Burger with Bacon, Date & Onion Relish

Blue Cheese Smash Burger with Bacon, Date & Onion Relish

Recipe by Joan Smith
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Recipes, Savory Dishes



Dates, bacon, and blue cheese are an iconic trio and coincidentally make great burger toppings. The medjool dates, caramelized onions, and bacon (we love North Country Smokehouse’s Bacon Crumbles for this) make for a sweet, smoky relish that you will want to eat by the spoonful. If you have any leftover relish, save it for a truly awesome grilled cheese sandwich the next day.
For the smash burgers, the key is to get your patties super thin so that you get a nice deep brown crust and crispy, lacy bits around the edges. Really put your weight into the press and be sure to use ground beef with at least an 80/20 meat to fat ratio. The burgers are cooked on an ungreased griddle (or skillet), so you will want that extra fat to keep your patties juicy and ensure that they don’t stick to the pan.


  • Date Relish
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 olive 0il

  • 2 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

  • 2 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 6 6 Rancho Meladuco medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2/3 cup 2/3 crumbled cooked bacon, such as North Country Smokehouse Bacon Crumbles

  • 1 T 1 apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed

  • Burger
  • 4 4 squishy buns (preferably potato or brioche)—split, buttered and toasted

  • 1.5 pounds 1.5 ground beef (preferably 75/25), divided into four 3-ounce balls

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 5 oz. 5 Danish blue cheese, crumbled

  • Baby arugula and French fries, for serving (optional)


  • Make the Relish In a medium high-sided skillet or braiser, heat the olive oil over moderately-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and season with salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until tender and a deep caramelized brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the onions are beginning to stick, add a splash of water to loosen them from the pan. Once your caramelized onions are done, discard the thyme and bay leaf. Stir in the dates, bacon, and apple cider vinegar. Remove from the heat and let cool. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if needed. Scrape the relish into a pint-size heat-proof jar and let cool completely.
  • Make the Burgers Light a grill and place a 12- to 15-inch cast iron skillet or flat top directly on the grate to preheat (alternatively, you can do this on your stove top).
  • The burgers cook quickly, so get your buns buttered, toasted, and ready to go.
  • Working in batches, place two balls of ground beef in the skillet. Top with a small piece of parchment paper and press firmly with the bottom of a saucepan or a grill press until they are very thin and slightly wider than your bun. Remove the parchment paper and season generously with salt and pepper. Be careful not to crowd the pan.
  • Cook the patties over high heat until they are well browned and the tops are beginning to turn pale pink/gray in spots, about 1 minute. Using a bench scraper or a heavy metal spatula, carefully flip the patties, making sure to get all of the browned bits.
  • Immediately top the patties with some blue cheese. Make stacks of two patties and transfer the stacks to a large plate and cover loosely with foil. Keep warm while you prepare the other burgers.
  • Arrange the smashed burgers on top of the prepared buns. Top each burger with a hefty spoonful of the relish. If desired, top with some baby arugula. Close your burgers and serve right away with French fries on the side.


  • Recipe & Photos: Julia Heffelfinger @JuliaHeff

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