How to Eat Like the Irish on Paddy's

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays ­– and no, it’s not just because everyone dresses all in green and binges on green beer. I spent last spring in Dublin, Ireland where my study abroad friends and I had a fantastic time celebrating with our Irish friends.

This year, finding myself back in the States seemed a bit disappointing, so I decided to spice things up. Two of my roommates from study abroad also go to USC (it just took us flying 3000 miles to meet!), and we invited another friend who we met in Dublin to fly down from Buffalo for the weekend.

Of course, we had to take her to eat some good ol’ Southern food, but I also wanted to throw it back to our Dublin days. Hence easy, open-faced boxty burgers.

WTF is boxty, you ask? Boxty is a traditional Irish dish. They’re basically thick savory potato pancakes. Throw a burger patty on top and smother it with a spicy Guinness sauce, and you’ve got a bite of Irish-American fusion that your friends will be super impressed with.

Boxty Burgers & Spicy Guinness Sauce


1 lb. ground beef

1 container microwavable mashed potatoes (I used Pineland Farms Natural Homestyle Mashed Potatoes)

1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

1 egg

1 egg yolk

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 tsp. garlic powder



Raw cabbage, chopped (optional)


1 bottle Guinness

1 T sriracha

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tsp. soy sauce



  1. We’ll make the boxty first. Microwave your mashed potatoes based on the instructions on the package. Stir to make sure they’re heated all the way through.
  2. While the potatoes are heating, transfer the ground beef into a large bowl. Pour about half of the Guinness into the bowl and stir. Place in the fridge.
  3. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a large bowl. (I only used half because there were only four of us eating.) Pour in the shredded hash brown potatoes.
  4. Add the egg and egg yolk. Don’t know how to separate the egg from the yolk? Here’s a trick: grab a separate, smaller bowl. Crack the egg on the edge of the bowl, letting the white drip into it but careful to reserve the yolk in the shell half. To fully separate the yolk, tilt the yolk from one shell half to the other and back. The white should drip into the bowl. You can use this extra egg white to make a delicious omelet tomorrow morning!
  5. Whisk the egg into the potato mixture. Add the flour, garlic powder and a dash of salt and pepper. (When I say a dash, pour salt into your hand until it is about the size of a nickel, for a ½ container of potatoes, or a quarter, for a whole container.) Two cracks of pepper should do the trick. Mix this together.
  6. Put a pan on medium heat on the stove. Add the butter, and tilt the pan as it melts in order to coat it. This will prevent the boxty from sticking and will make your life much easier.
  7. Spoon the potato mixture into the pan in a circular shape about the size of your fist. You should be able to fit two or three into the pan at once depending upon how large the pan is. Take the spatula and lift one side of the boxty. If golden brown, flip it. Once both sides are cooked, use the spatula to transfer it onto a plate. Repeat until all of the potato mixture is used.
  8. Find your small saucepan and place it on a burner. Turn the heat to high. Add the rest of the Guinness and the brown sugar. Stir in the soy sauce and sriracha. Add a pinch of salt.
  9. The sauce should start to bubble. Continue to stir and reduce the heat to medium. The sauce will simmer (a step below a boil) and thicken. After 2 minutes, reduce the heat to low and let it sit.
  10. Onto the burgers. Remember that ground beef you put in the fridge? Pull it out. Add a dash (see step 5) of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in.
  11. Time to get messy. Scoop some of the mixture into your hand and shape it into a sphere. Voila–a burger patty! Toss that bad boy into your pan (or if you have the luxury, a grill or a George Foreman). Allow the patty to brown and then flip it. You want to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Once cooked, place the patties on a plate.
  12. Hooray, you did it! Pick a patty and toss it on top of one of the boxty. Drizzle (or drench) the sauce over it and add a little chopped cabbage if you want. Grab a cold Guinness from the fridge and enjoy your Irish-ish meal. 

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