While everyone loves a classic cheeseburger, smash burgers can take your summer BBQ to the next level. The benefit of a smashed burger is that you end up with a greater surface area and more opportunity for a Maillard reaction, which means more flavor.
Tips for Making Smash Burgers
Like making regular burgers, you'll want to start with the beef very cold. If the beef warms up while you are making the burgers, the fat can separate from the meat, making the burgers sticky while forming patties and tough when cooked.
The Right Patty Size
One of the tricks to making the perfect smash burger is to make each patty the same size and not too big. The temptation to make half-pound burger patties isn't going to result in delicious smash burgers because there'll be too much meat and it won't press down flat. In our experience, using about two ounces per patty is the correct amount. That means you'll want a spatula that is four to five inches wide.
Using the Best Beef
Smash burgers require a higher fat percentage than the average burger, so the best bet is to grind your own. If that isn't an option, use 80/20 or fattier. Choosing a lean beef mixture is likely to give you dry, tough burgers. A mixture of chuck, brisket, and sirloin makes for an ideal burger patty.
Measuring the Meat
Making each patty the same size will make the burgers cook at the same time and give you the best results. We like to use a basic food scale to make sure each patty comes out the same. Four-ounce patties are the ideal size for making smash burgers.
If you really like the crispy surface, you can cut the patty size down to two-ounce portions and then just double them up on the bun.
Shaping the Patties
The fun thing about smash burgers is that you don't need to spend a bunch of time making them into perfect little circles. Since you are smashing them on the griddle surface, you'll simply make them into balls.
It isn't even as important to avoid overworking the meat, since you aren't really worrying about keeping them juicy. Working the meat a little keeps the patty from being crumbly when cooking smash burgers. Put them back in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
The Best Buns for Making Smash Burgers Like a Pro
Buns make a difference. When it comes to smash burgers, you really want a bun that can handle the patties. Tender and fluffy are the features we look for, so we tend to grab a fresh brioche bun or a potato bun for our favorite smash burger recipe.
Cooking Smash Burgers
First things first, you'll want to get the griddle surface really, really hot. Aim for 650 degrees or more. You can test the temperature by sprinkling a small amount of water on the surface. It should instantly dance and disappear. Do not add oil to the griddle surface since you want maximum exposure.
Using the Hamburger Spatula
Drop each burger ball onto the griddle surface making sure that each patty has enough room to be pressed out. Let each of them sizzle for a few seconds, then press the patties down as hard as you can, keeping the spatula level and even. This is why you need a strong, sturdy spatula with a stable handle that is comfortable to use.
Searing the Burgers
Now that you've pressed down the patties, let them cook just until the edges are getting crispy, then flip. Use the spatula to scrape around the edges before getting the patty onto the blade. This keeps the patty from falling apart.
Immediately put a slice of cheese on the patty. After a few seconds, pull the burger patties and place them on the buns. The thin, pressed meat will cook very fast and it is easy to overcook the meat. One of the great things about cooking burgers this way is that you can turn them out very quickly.
Having the perfect spatula for making smash burgers will enhance the process so that you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time stressing about making the meal happen.
Making the best smash burgers isn't difficult and the process gives you the opportunity to experiment with a variety of toppings, cheeses, and flavorings for the meat. Because smash burgers cook super fast, you can make a lot of hamburgers quickly and feed a large group of people with ease.
The key to getting ideal results is to start with cold beef and a very hot griddle surface. Unlike making regular patties, home cooks will find that the widest spatula is the best choice while using a press with a dual-textured finish can help to give the patties a great texture. Key features to look for are a comfortable grip and a wide support surface to give the patties a consistent thickness and make it easy to push down.
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