A Smash Hit: A Must-Try Smash Burger Recipe

For years, I’ve extolled the virtues of cooking burgers on the grill (preferably over a wood fire), and for years I’ve warned against pressing those burgers with the flat part of a spatula (an act often practiced by people with Y chromosomes that squeezes the luscious meat juices onto the coals).

But there’s one burger that does better on a griddle than a grill and that absolutely thrives when pressed. You guessed it: the smash burger.

Modeled on the pressed burgers of the Great Lakes region, the smash burger was created by fast food restaurant veterans Rick Schaden and Tom Ryan. Today, the Smashburger restaurant chain has more than 200 outlets across the U.S. and Canada. The genius of the method lies in smashing the burger on hot flat metal, pressing out the fat, caramelizing the meat, and crisping the edges. The resulting contrast of textures and flavors makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.

A successful smash burger requires three things: relatively fatty ground beef (ideally 20 percent fat), a screaming hot griddle (ideally 500 degrees), and a flat heavy weight, like a griddle press or a cast iron skillet. Don’t be afraid to press hard: you’ll need the sustained pressure. Note: For an extra luxurious smash burger, use Wagyu beef.

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