My current favorite burger is a smashed burger or smashburger. Some call it a diner burger. Here is a guide to making one. In all its simplicity if you haven’t tried one you really should. Making one at home is always better than the ones you can get by going out.
- 140g of ground beef per burger for 2 patty burgers, ideally with 20% fat (anything above 15% will taste great)
- 2 slices of cheese per burger (cheddar, Monterey jack or your choice of cheese)
- pickled cucumbers
- Hamburger buns (I use brioche buns)
You will need a cast iron skillet or cast iron plate for your grill. You can do this on a hot plate or a grill. I use a grill and a cast iron plate. You will also a rigid flat spatula and something to press down on it.
Mix some diced pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Don’t make too much, you won’t need a lot. Feel free to add a bit of cayenne or chili for a bit of kick of that’s something you like.
Optional: caramelize some sliced onions.
Optional: Cook some bacon in the oven or on a pan.
Divide your ground beef into equal-sized portions. For example if you have 650g of ground beef and you want to make 8 patties for 4 burgers you would make 8 ~81g loosely packed balls. Remember don’t pack them too tightly it’s very important that they are very loosely packed.
Making the burgers
Heat up your cast iron plate or skillet. Apply some vegetable oil or butter. Place your ground beef on the cast iron. Leave it for a few seconds flip it and use your spatula and something to press on the spatula. Flipping the ground beef after a few seconds because doing this will cook the ground beef slightly and it will prevent sticking when you smash the burger. While you press, allow the spatula slide, you want the edges rough. I use a wooden ladle to press on the spatula. If the burger breaks apart, just nudge it back together. Once you flip the burger and apply cheese it will hold together.
Let the burgers cook for a few minutes you want them to brown slightly on each side. Time depends on temperature and thickness. When you see the meat sweat it’s too soon let it go for a short time still. When you flip them you want them to look something like the picture below. The browning is utilizing the Maillard Reaction and gives us the taste we want.
After you flip the burger apply some salt and black pepper and add a cheese slice on top of each burger. Now if you want to slightly toast the puns do it now. Butter the puns a bit and place them on the cast iron.
The flip side of the burger will not take as long as the first side of the burger. When the cheese has melted on the burger, it’s most likely time to take them off. Because the buns will take less time than the burgers watch out and take check them frequently.
Finally build your burger and add the sauce and onions and bacon and enjoy!