Smash burgers challenge the rules of grilling. We've all heard that you should never press down on your ground beef patty while it's cooking, but that's just what you do when making a smash burger. The trick to making restaurant-quality smash burgers is having the right tools for the job. The key tool you need is the perfect spatula for smash burgers.
What are Smashed Burgers, Anyway?
Since at least the 1950s, burger joints across the country have been making and serving smash burgers. The difference between a smash burger and a regular hamburger is the crispy texture of a smash burger. The crust is created with the same reaction that we rely on for getting excellent bark texture on brisket called the Milliard reaction. It happens when sugars caramelize under heat.
That means in order to get the proper texture, you need to satisfy a few conditions. First, you'll need a very hot griddle. Smash burgers can't be made on a grill because, well, you will smash the beef right into the fire. The other thing you'll need is a sharp, heavy-duty spatula that can really scrape against the cooking surface to lift up every bit of beef and prevent the patty from falling apart.
How To Choose the Right Spatula for Smash Burgers?
Your smash burgers are going to require a special spatula. What you want to find is a wide, flat, sturdy spatula with sharp edges. You'll be using the spatula to press down on the patties and flip them, so it needs to be large enough to fully cover the burger and strong enough to press the meat consistently.
The choice of handle design for the best spatula for smash burgers should be one that is durable and won't conduct heat. Some folks prefer wood, others like synthetic materials, while a few still like metal-handled tools. The main thing is that the handle is comfortable and doesn't bend easily.
Another thing to consider is the style of blade on the ideal spatula for smash burgers. You want a smooth and flat blade without holes that can snag and make a mess of your perfect patties. You want a spatula that has at least one very sharp edge but the more, the merrier. A good spatula for smash burgers will have two or three sharp edges to aid in scraping the beef from the griddle surface.
The Best Smash Burger Spatulas
Here are a few examples of the types of spatulas that are ideal for making the most amazing smash burgers possible.
Anmarko Big Metal Griddle Spatula
This is an ideal option for making smash burgers. It's 4-inches wide by 8-inches long and has a heat-resistant handle. The stainless steel spatula has straight edge angles along three sides to make scraping the patty from the griddle surface easy. This design is available with either a wooden handle or a synthetic handle.
New Star Foodservice Extra Large Spatula
This is both an attractive and functional spatula that works wonderfully for smash burgers. It has a three-rivet wood handle and an oversized stainless steel blade. The precision-ground stainless steel blade is extra strong, while the handle gives you the optimal angle for ensuring that the burgers are pressed perfectly. This is one of the best smash burger spatula designs around.
Winco TN56 Offset Turner
This is a little different design that has a shorter blade with an angled wooden handle. The design makes smashing burgers easy and the beveled edge cuts beneath the patties easily. It is an extra wide spatula for smashing burgers and also makes flipping easy while offering a firm grip.
Victoria Cast Iron Wire Handle Burger Press
A burger press is a great way to ensure that you get consistent results when pressing burgers flat. We've found that a sturdy cast iron press will help get the ideal burger shape.
This is one of our favorite presses. It features heavy-duty construction and a wrapped wire handle that doesn't get hot when you use it. The dimpled surface keeps the press from sticking to the meat and enhances the flatness of the pressed meat.
More Great Grilling Essentials
If you're looking for more of our favorite BBQ tools, check out our blog post The Best BBQ Tools and Grilling Gadgets which include things like our favorite grilling spatula (if we're not making smash burgers), grill brush, grill basket, and more.
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