How to make smash burgers?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 20, 2024

Introduction to Smash Burgers

Smash burgers are a beloved staple of American cuisine, known for their crispy edges and juicy interiors. Unlike traditional burgers, smash burgers are pressed flat on a hot griddle, maximizing the Maillard reaction and creating a flavorful crust. This guide will walk you through every step, from choosing the right beef to perfecting your smash technique.

Choosing the Right Beef

The foundation of a great smash burger is high-quality beef. Here are some tips:

  • Fat Content: Aim for a blend with at least 20% fat, such as an 80/20 mix. The fat ensures juiciness and flavor.
  • Freshness: Freshly ground beef is ideal. If possible, grind your own meat at home for the best texture and taste.
  • Types of Beef: Chuck is a common choice, but blends incorporating brisket or short rib can add depth of flavor.

Essential Equipment

To make the perfect smash burger, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment:

  • Griddle or Cast-Iron Skillet: A flat, heavy surface helps achieve an even crust.
  • Metal Spatula: A sturdy spatula with a sharp edge is crucial for pressing the burger and scraping it off the cooking surface.
  • Parchment Paper: This prevents sticking when smashing the burger.

Preparing the Beef Patties

Start by forming your beef into small balls, roughly 2-3 ounces each. Avoid overworking the meat, as this can lead to tough burgers. Aim for a loose, airy texture. Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until you're ready to cook.

Heating the Griddle

Heat your griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until it’s smoking hot. The high temperature is essential for creating a crispy crust. Lightly oil the surface to prevent sticking.

Smashing the Burgers

Once the griddle is hot, place a ball of beef on the surface. Immediately cover it with a piece of parchment paper and use your spatula to press down firmly. Aim to flatten the burger to about 1/4 inch thick. Hold the pressure for about 10 seconds to ensure maximum contact with the cooking surface.


Season the burger generously with salt and pepper right after smashing. This allows the seasoning to adhere to the meat and enhances the crust formation.

Cooking the Burgers

Let the burger cook undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes. You’ll notice the edges start to brown and crisp. Carefully flip the burger using your spatula, scraping under it to preserve the crust. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. If you prefer cheese on your burger, add a slice immediately after flipping.

Choosing the Right Bun

A good smash burger deserves an equally good bun. Here are some popular choices:

  • Potato Buns: Soft and slightly sweet, potato buns are a classic choice.
  • Brioche Buns: Rich and buttery, they add a touch of luxury.
  • Sesame Seed Buns: A traditional option that adds a bit of texture.

Toasting the Buns

Toast the buns on the griddle or in a separate skillet. This adds a layer of texture and prevents the buns from getting soggy. Spread a small amount of butter on the cut sides and toast until golden brown.

Assembling the Burger

Now that your burgers and buns are ready, it’s time to assemble. Here’s a classic approach:

  • Condiments: Spread your favorite condiments on the bottom bun. Ketchup, mustard, and mayo are traditional choices.
  • Lettuce and Tomato: Add a leaf of crispy lettuce and a slice of ripe tomato for freshness.
  • Pickles and Onions: Pickles add a tangy crunch, while thinly sliced onions provide a bit of bite.
  • Patty: Place the hot, juicy patty on top of the vegetables. If you used cheese, it should be perfectly melted by now.
  • Top Bun: Finish with the top bun, and give the burger a gentle press to meld all the flavors together.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your smash burgers immediately to enjoy them at their peak. Pair with classic sides like:

  • French Fries: Crisp and golden, they’re a perfect match.
  • Onion Rings: Crunchy and flavorful, they add a different texture.
  • Coleslaw: Refreshing and tangy, it balances the richness of the burger.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips to elevate your smash burger game:

  • Double Smash Burgers: For extra indulgence, stack two patties with cheese in between.
  • Caramelized Onions: Cook onions slowly in butter until they’re sweet and golden for a gourmet touch.
  • Special Sauces: Experiment with homemade sauces like garlic aioli or spicy mayo for added flavor.

Exploring Variations

While the classic smash burger is a masterpiece, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and techniques. Consider incorporating international flavors or unique toppings to create your signature burger.

The art of making smash burgers is both simple and nuanced, offering endless opportunities for creativity and enjoyment. Whether you stick to the traditional approach or forge your own path, the journey promises to be as rewarding as the destination.

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