Hot Mess Burger- Harlem Shake

By Marcus Samuelsson |

We love to feature recipes from our Harlem neighbor, Harlem Shake. This mouth-watering Hot Mess Burger is hot, sloppy, and juicy, just the way we like it! Make this Harlem Shake favorite at your next BBQ to impress your friends and family, or better yet, keep it all to yourself. 

Prep Details

Servings: 4

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes



2 lb. ground beef

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Dash salt and pepper

4 Martin's Potato rolls (or another type of potato roll)

4 slices american cheese (or substitute with cheddar or swiss)

12 slices pickle chips

12 thin slices sweet Vidalia onion (or another sweet varietal)

4 tbsp. mayonnaise blended with canned Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1:10 ratio

4 tbsp. cherry pepper-bacon relish ( see recipe)

Bacon-Cherry Pepper Relish

4 slices applewood smoked bacon, grilled until crispy, drained of fat and minced

2 tbsp. pickled cherry peppers (or other small red hot peper), drained well and minced

1 tsp. white vinegar

3 tsp. sugar (or less, to taste)

1 tsp. sweet pickle relish


Cast iron flat top griddle , seasoned

Burger smasher

Chopping board

Plates to assemble burgers


Bacon-Cherry Pepper Relish:

  1. Mix all ingredients until you obtain a relish-like dip.


  1. Form 4 oz. balls from the meat, and leave on room temperature for 15-20 minutes, covered lightly with a plastic wrap.
  2. In the meantime, prepare and set up all of the condiments as you will need them immediately after finishing the burger patties.
  3. Pre-heat the cast iron on high heat until very hot. If you put butter on it, it should sizzle and even smoke a bit.
  4. On the lower temperature side of the grill, toast the potato rolls with a bit of butter until warm and golden, then place on the assembly plate.
  5. To grill the meat, put 1/2 tbsp. of butter per each patty on the griddle to melt, then immediately throw 8 formed meatballs on top of it. Smash hard with a burger smasher utensil to make each of them into a 3-4 inch patty (they should cook very quickly).
  6. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper, then start scraping the meat off of the griddle with a burger flipper tool (your burger should be stuck to the griddle and form a brownish crust, so you will have to "peel it" carefully not to break the patty).
  7. Once the patties are turned over, wait about 15 seconds or until the meat turns just brown.
  8. Place a slice of cheese on 4 patties, and cover them with the remaining four patties.
  9. Remove each stack from the grill and place on the roll on which you previously spread 1 tbsp. of chipotle mayonnaise, 1 tbsp. of Bacon-Cherry Pepper Relish, 3 slices of onion and 3 slices of pickles.
  10. Cover with the bun top and serve immediately. Enjoy!