These Grilled smash burgers are simple to make, but SO FREAKING GOOD! If you love burgers at home, you need to do a smash burger!
Ground beef with some Salt pepper and garlic, smashed into a scorching hot griddle, until they’re perfectly browned. I have a hard time making burgers any other way these days.
What makes a smash burger?
Smash burgers are exactly what they sound like.
By taking the meat and literally smashing it to a griddle, your increasing the amount of that lovely crisp seared meat texture.
And It the flavor that everyone dreams of achieving, so there’s that.
And when they’re nice and thin like that, it really gives it that “burger joint” vibe. Something my kids absolutely love.
No kidding. I haven’t made my famous grilled burgers since I started doing burgers this way because the kids will only eat these.
Kind of makes me sad.
Equipment Needed to Smash a burger
- Griddle or Flattop Grill – Whether you’re using a griddle that can go on top of a traditional gas grill, or rocking a flatop griddle, this will provide a large, flat surface to cook the patties, which helps to create a crispy crust on the meat.
- Spatula – a sturdy, wide spatula is essential for flipping and smashing the burgers.
- Hamburger Press (optional) – You can get a good smash burger without one, but these are just fun to use, plust they double as a weight to evenly cook bacon on a griddle.
- Food Scale – using a food scale to weigh the meat ensures that each patty is the same size, which is important for even cooking.
- Griddle Scraper – to scrape off any burnt bits from the griddle surface, keeping it clean for the next round of burgers..
- Heat-resistant Gloves or Mitts – If you’re a little absent-minded like me, you’ll forget that the griddle sitting on your grill is SCORCHING HOT. So you may want to invest in protecting your hands from the hot griddle surface and any potential splatters.
- Laser Read Thermometer – I like these to get a quick reading of the cooking surface to make sure its at the right temperature.
- Cheese Melting Dome (optional) – It’s not 100% necessary, but if you want that cheese to get perfectly gooey, a dome-shaped lid that sits over the burger while it cooks, will helpito melt the cheese evenly.
The Key to perfect smash burgers
What you need to think about when making a Smashburger, is as much meat touching the heat as possible. Here are some tips.
- Loosely packed the ground beef – 3 to 4 ounces. I’ll measure them on a food scale. Loosely pack it into a ball, this helps spread it out thinly on to your griddle when it comes time to grill. You want as much of your 80/20 ground beef in contact with your griddle to get the Maillard reaction as possible.
- Use a griddle – A flattop style grill will work the best, but if you only have a traditional grill, pick up a griddle to place on top.
- Crank that heat – This is one of the rare times I recommend getting your grill up to the highest heat it can do. You want around 550-600F in general.
- Have the right smashing tools – Whether you’re using a paint scraper, griddle spatula or a hamburger press, you want a tool that helps you smash that burger as thin and as wide as possible.
How to smash a smash burger
Smashing down a burger without pulling it off of the griddle may take a few attempts your first go around.
So you may want to make a few extras just in case.
The trick is being deliberate. press hard and use a second spatula to help distribute the weight evenly. I like to hold it for a few seconds so that the heat from the griddle “grabs” the meat while it sears.
Slide the spatula off of the top of the burger while pressing to get it as flat as possible. The more you do this the easier and more natural it becomes.
DO NOT MOVE the burger until you start to see juices coming through the top of the burger. Then deliberately, and confidently, use your spatula to get the burger off the griddle without leaving anything behind.
Once its flipped, immediately add your cheese and let it melt.
This is where your creativity comes in. I love doubling up my smash burgers. Sometimes I’ll add some grilled onion in between as well.
I don’t like to mask up too much of the flavor of the burgers so I keep the condiments simple – ketchup mustard pickle
And when in doubt add a little bacon. No body will complain about a little bacon on a smash burger.
And if they do, kindly, yet firmly ask them to leave.
Don’t skimp on the bun
And the bun matters. Get a nice artisan style bun. I used Dave’s Killers Bread [disclaimer: IG post was sponsored, but not the blog post – but they’re so good I had to mention it!] buns and they went so good together!
I’m definitely going to have to make a smash burger reel on this recipe again and show how to do it with the luxury of a full size flattop.
[UPDATE] I’ve made a reel:
A toasted bun is a must, but can be hard when grilling at a high heat.
Everything can be cooked at once and makes life so much easier. Plus, it’s the ultimate dad achievement!
Side Options for smash burgers
I mean, you can’t go wrong with tried and true, french fries. But, if you’re feeling adventurous here’s some other ideas:
- Onion Rings – Another classic side dish that goes well with burgers. Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, onion rings add a nice contrast in texture to the burger.
- Sweet Potato Fries – A healthier alternative to traditional fries, sweet potato fries are sweet and savory, providing a nice contrast to the burger’s umami flavor.
- Coleslaw – A refreshing side dish that helps to cut through the richness of the burger. Coleslaw is made with shredded cabbage and carrots dressed in a creamy sauce.
- Grilled Vegetables – If you’re looking for a lighter side dish, grilled vegetables are a great option. Seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or fresh corn can be grilled alongside the burgers for a tasty and healthy addition to the meal.
- Mac and Cheese – For a heartier side dish, mac and cheese is a great option. Creamy, cheesy, and indulgent, it’s a great comfort food to pair with a delicious burger.
- Baked Beans – A classic side dish at barbecues and cookouts, baked beans are sweet and savory and go well with the smoky flavor of a grilled burger.
Grilled Smash Burgers
- 2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- 4 buns
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- pinch garlic powder
- 8 strips bacon
- preheat your grill to as hot as it can get with a flat top skillet or griddle. While the grill is preheating – cook your bacon and drain
- loosely Form patties into 3-4 oz balls. sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder
- Place patties onto griddle. Smash with a large spatula, using a second spatula to press down. Slide the spatula off, do not lift. This will keep the patty against the griddle.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then quickly scoop up with the spatula, then flip. Add cheese and close grill. Cook until cheese is melted – about 2-4 minutes.
- Stack two patties on top of each other on top a bun with some bacon and your favorite condiments and serve!