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Smash Burger

Introduction & method

The smash burger is the archetypal American diner burger. The way it's made goes against everything I've ever seen about making burgers, but the result is fantastic. Basically, you just take a ball of minced steak, squash it flat on a hot griddle and cook it quickly. No messing about with treating it gently - it just works!

Smash Burger Recipe

Mince the Steak

It's always, always best to mince your own meat. That way you know exactly what's in it. Place a bowl and the grinding mechanism for your mincer in the freezer for half an hour before you start. You need about 20% fat, so if your steak doesn't have that much you can cut some off some pork chops or belly pork. You might want to chill the fat in the freezer for a while as well. Cut the steak and the fat into chunks that will go through your mincer. Grind using the medium plate, then grind it again, still with the medium plate. Divide the mince into equal balls about 60 grams (2 ounces) each. If you don't have a mincer, make sure the minced steak you buy is at least 20% fat.

Toast Your Buns

Toasting your buns gives them a bit more strength and makes them less likely to absorb juices and go soggy. Split your buns or muffins in half and put them, cut face up, under a grill or broiler until they are a light golden brown - don't overdo the toasting!

Cook the Patties

Add a little oil or beef dripping to a griddle or frying pan, and heat it up until it's smoking. Place a ball of mince on it, and squash it as thin as you can with the back of a wide, flat spatula. It helps if you use the end of a rolling pin on the spatula to get more pressure. You might also want oil the back of the spatula too. Generously sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper, and let the patties cook until browning/crisping is visible on the edges - this should only take about 2 minutes. Flip the patties and add a slice of cheese to half of them. Cook for a minute or two more, until the cheese is melty.

Assemble the burger

Here's how to build it. Take the bottom half of one bun. Add enough lettuce to cover it. Sprinkle on some onion. Add a patty with cheese on it. Add a patty without cheese on it. Add a slice or two of tomato. Add as much pickle as you like. Smear a dollop of the special sauce on the inside of the lid. Place the lid on top of the burger stack and press down hard. Slice it in two and eat, wiping dribble from chin occasionally.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Smash Burger on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 450 grams braising (chuck) steak, 20% fat
 4 burger buns/brioche buns/English muffins
 4 slices processed cheese
 1 or 2 thinly sliced tomatoes
 a few leaves of lettuce
 a few slices of gherkin/dill pickle
 4 dollops special burger sauce
 5 tbsp mayonnaise
 1 tbsp mild yellow mustard (eg French\'s)
 1 tbsp pickled gherkin
 2 tsp white wine vinegar
 half a tsp onion powder
 half a tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp paprika


A little oil or beef dripping for frying. Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 burgers
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 4 minutes.
Total time: 14 minutes.