So what’s a smash burger? Well, ever been to Shake Shack? ‘Cause they’ve got smash burgers and after I tried one for the first time, a couple of years back on a trip to the US, it changed my hamburger eating life forever. Now I’m obsessed with this style of burger. The patty is thin with raggedy edges, flavourful and juicy; the bun is almost sweet and so soft. Then there’s the special sauce and processed cheese and all these things combined make a supreme combination of flavours and textures. No this isn’t an ad for Shake Shack 😉
When the recipe for what looked like a strikingly similar burger popped up on the Bon Appetit site recently, I was skeptical. It sure looks the same but is it really? First off, the recipe looked entirely too easy. No secret ingredients? No special steps?
Nope, and it really was that easy to produce a premium smash burger! You basically just grab a mound of medium-fat ground beef and you guessed it, smash them onto a griddle or non-stick pan to cook. All of the resulting craggy bits (random, protruding meat on the edge) become all caramelized and crispy. Simply add salt and whatever toppings you like on your burger.
For me, it’s 1 or 2 thinly sliced rings of raw white onion, processed cheese, a single leaf of curly lettuce, pickle slices and my Smash Sauce! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Wait, what? Smash sauce? Yup, it’s just ketchup, mayo and pickle brine mixed together to form a perfectly pink, creamy and tangy burger sauce 😀
“Shredduce” is a term used by Carla Lalli Music a Food Director at Bon Appetit Magazine. 😀
PS: This recipe is also from Bon Appetit, hence the title, BA’s Smash Burgers.
PPS: I am obsessed with all that is Bon Appetit. I even have a T-Shirt.
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram account, Vanilla Bean Montreal, for regular meal inspo and recipe step-by steps. Learn new recipes along with me 🙂
- vegetable oil for pan
- 1 pound ground beef chuck I use medium fat ground beef 20% fat
- kosher salt
- 4 slices American cheese such as Kraft Extra Cheddar processed cheese
- 4 Hamburger rolls such as potato brioche egg or any soft variety, toasted
- Lettuce such as iceberg or curly – shredded or not
- Dill pickle
- Pickle brine
- Heat a cast-iron griddle or large heavy skillet over medium-high until very hot, about 2 minutes, then lightly brush with vegetable oil. Divide ground beef into 4 equal portions (leave them in mounds, do not form into round patties).
- Working in batches if needed, place portions in the skillet or on the griddle and smash flat with a spatula to form 4″-diameter patties (craggy edges are your friend). Season liberally with salt and cook, undisturbed, until outer edges are brown, about 2 minutes. Flip patties, season with salt and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty a minute before they’re done. Cook until cheese droops and burgers are cooked to your liking although best not to overcook.
- Mix ketchup, mayo and a 1 or 2 tsp of pickle brine to make SMASH SAUCE 😀 You choose the ratio of ketchup:mayo. I mix roughly equal parts.
- When the burgers are done, remove them to a plate. Place 4 burger buns opened, face down, and toast in the same pan that the burgers were cooking in. All of the meat juices with be absorbed by the bread as it toasts. Extra flavour development!! Serve patties on rolls with smash sauce, lettuce, onion, and pickles.
One of the key elements is the meat. Select medium-fat or 80/20 ratio beef if you can get it. Get friendly with your butcher… not too friendly 😉 Buying lean beef would be robbing you of the flavour and the richness that makes this burger special. Don’t worry though, the patty is thin so it won’t feel fatty and overwhelming. The second element is the soft bun. Try to find potato buns or brioche buns if you can. They need to be very slightly sweet, airy, squishy and with a soft golden exterior.