We have been making our own burgers at home for many years now. I have another version of our smash burger that has other seasonings in the meat, but this way has become our favorite. I know you are thinking “Oh it’s just a burger” and not something that is hard to make. Well you are right it is simple to make; however, there are a few things that can make them better. So here are our top tips for making the perfect smash burger at home.
1) Get a flat top grill! We have made these using a cast iron griddle over a charcoal fire. We have also used a cast iron skillet in the house. But our favorite is using our gas powered flat top Blackstone grill. It allows you to get a high heat sear and caramelization just like that found in a commercial setting. It also allows you to cook several at once all while toasting your buns on a lower setting at the opposite end of the grill. So, if you haven’t already invested in one, I highly recommend doing so. As for brands, I think they all have their ups and downs, but we went with the Blackstone and it’s been our best purchase so far.
2) The type of meat you use really doesn’t matter as much in a smash burger as it would in a thick patty burger, so don’t stress over buying the most expensive cuts. Instead invest in a beveled round patty press. This allows you to press the patty flat without pressing out all the moisture. This is also why it is important to measure your meat by weight. We found that for our press the perfect amount was a 4.5oz ball of beef. Using the high heat, it will sear the bottom and lock the moisture into the meat above it. Don’t press it any more after flipping. That will only risk the meat breaking apart, and it will squeeze out the moisture you worked hard to lock in. Just remember to lightly season each side with salt, pepper, and garlic mix and then don’t press after flipping.
3) Use parchment paper! This prevents the meat from sticking to the metal press. We ruined several the first time we made them, because they were impossible to remove without falling apart. You can get parchment paper at almost all grocery stores. I get it in a roll, so that I can easily measure out how much I need for each use. In addition to the parchment, you will need a good spatula for flipping the patties. We like these offset spatulas. They work great for all of our griddle usage.
4) Lastly, you want to toast the buns and melt the cheese right before serving. I like making my own buns, but often just buy them out of convenience. Feel free to do the same. For melting the cheese, it helps to cover with a domed lid and steam them with a little water. You don’t want to pour the water on the patty, just sprinkle a little under the lid or around the outer edge of the meat before covering for a bit. This will help melt the top without over cooking the bottom. We each choose our favorite cheese so that we can customize our burgers to our liking.
Try out all of these tips next time you are wanting to have a good smash burger at home and let me know if these tips helped you. Enjoy!
- 1 6-inch round burger press with beveled edge
- 1 large offset spatula
- 1 Domed lid
- 1 water bottle
- 18-36 oz ground beef measured at 4.5oz each,
- 4-8 each burger buns number depends upon if burgers are single or double patty
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 2-4 tbsp butter for buns
- parchment paper cut into 4×4 squares for pressing each patty
- 1 onion sliced or chopped thinly
- 1-2 slice cheese of choice American, cheddar, swiss, etc.
- preferred toppings for burgers lettuce, tomato, ketchup, etc.
- Prep all ingredients as follows: Measure out the ground beef into 4.5 oz round balls and set aside. Cut your parchment paper into squares large enough to spread an inch outside of burger press. In a shaker mix salt, pepper, and garlic. Slice onions in either thin strips or tiny chunks. Place slices of cheese for each burger patty on a plate. Prep buns with a tiny spread of butter on each. Set all toppings onto a platter for quick assembly. To cook burgers: Heat flat grill to high heat. (This can be done in a cast iron skillet, but much easier on a large flat top grill) If using onions, place a few on the grill then place burger meat ball on top. If not using onions, simply place burger meat ball onto heated grill. Place one piece of parchment paper on top of the meat and then using your press, press down and hold for 10 seconds. After the 10 seconds remove press and parchment. Sprinkle with a little of the salt mixture. You will flip them when they start to get a reddish/brown color. It takes no more than a minute. After flipping season, the other side, place your cheese on top, pour about a tablespoon of water around the patty, and then cover with the dome lid for 30 seconds to a minute. Toast your buns and then serve with your tray of toppings.