What is a smashburger?
A smashburger is exactly what it sounds like. A smashed burger. But why is it so popular and what makes it better than a traditional burger. To help us understand the history of a smash burger we can attribute the popularity to stem from the restaurant Smashburger. Smashburger started in 2007. They were in pursuit of a new flavor profile and a more creative way to make a hamburger. They key was smashing the burger onto a buttered grill that would caramelize the patty creating a flavorful sear. From this origin back yard chefs have been crazy about creating the smash burger crust (caramelized sear) that gives the unique flavor and experience a smash burger offers.
HOW TO MAKE A SMASH BURGER
SELECTING THE RIGHT MEAT
What makes the perfect burger? This is pretty universal for all types of burgers. You want to look for 80/20 beef. 80/20 means 80% meat and 20% fat. This has been deemed the perfect blend for hamburger meat. 80/20 gives the right ratio of texture, beefy flavor, fatty flavor, and juicy meat. The conversation of which species of cow continues and has yet to be solved. "Smashburger" (the restaurant chain) themselves say the best comes from certified Black Angus beef. As long as your fat to meat ratio is right, the cow is less important. If you want to make the biggest difference use freshly ground beef. When compared to frozen logs, a fresh package of meat will make a noticeably better burger.
Making a Crust
Now that you have the right meat for making a smashburger—you need to perfect the crust. Well, how do you obtain the perfect crust? A very hot griddle. With butter. We make sure our griddles can withstand temperatures exceeding 500°F. In fact, we've tested them at 700°F and get a great sear, every time. Because fo their thin mass, these burgers are meant to cook fast. Once your griddle is hot add a little butter and carefully place your ball of burger. Using a spatula or burger smasher with good force, squish the burger as hard as you can and watch the crust begin to form. After just a few seconds you can flip and sear the other side.
Why Smash a burger?
If you have never had a smash burger you likely have asked, "why smash a perfectly good burger?" Doesn't smashing it press all the juice out? That's a complicated question. If done correctly the sear happens so quickly that the juice is locked in. If you let it rest you will notice the juice start to be released from the burger. Dry burgers are caused by a long cook letting the juice drip out and go to waste. This leads us to the next benefit of a smashburger. The griddle. The cold-rolled steel surface coated with a little butter, enhances the caramelization process and in turn forming the crust. At the same time the burger is being cooked in its own fat ensuring no flavor is lost.
How to season a smash burger?
Now that you know what meat to use and why you need to try a smash burger it is important to know how to season a smash burger and when. Often times people will season the burger while it's still in a ball. We don't recommend this. This can lead to an uneven seasoning therefore not giving you the best results. For the best results, season the burger as it is cooking. We know, we know the time window to season will be tight if it only cooks for a minute. But, utilize the time from when you smash it to when you need to flip it. This is when it's optimal to layer on your seasonings. Every one has their preferences on what seasoning is best but we prefer a simple salt, pepper, garlic mix. Kosher salt helps you see how much salt you are using and prevents you from over salting. Course ground black pepper will be much more flavorful than a fine ground black pepper. Lastly, a garlic powder to round it out. You can decide what ratio you like best but equal parts is always a safe bet.
How long to cook a smash burger?
Smash burgers are a quick way to make hamburgers. Typically you want to cook a burger to 165°F to ensure it is safe to eat. Yes, beef can be eaten raw at 130°F but burger is usually made of scrap meat and it is safest to fully cook it, unless you know exactly what went into the ground meat. That being said, smashburgers are placed onto a griddle that is any where from 500°F to 700°F. When you press it down to around 1/4 inches thick they cook quickly. Typically cooking a burger takes just a few minutes at the most. Once you visibly see a good crust, the meat turning dark, and if it has small holes in the patty—it's time to flip. After your first flip and once the other side's crust has developed, you can quickly check your internal temperature to ensure it will be safe to eat.
Is a smash burger or traditional burger better?
Asking if a smash burger or traditional burger is better is a subjective question based entirely on opinion. Some people like smoked burgers, grilled burgers, on a griddle, or smashed. Heck, try them all before choosing your winner. Want to have a little fun? Why not plan this week's dinners to be a different burger type each night. Here are some recipes to try:
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THE BOOK OF BURGER
Burgers are an easy, tasty meal option to cook on your outdoor grill or smoker. While they’re available virtually any time of the year, their incognizant sense of summer nostalgia is what makes them so enjoyable during BBQ season. Fresh bun and refreshing condiments followed by, what can only be described as grilled, juicy perfection will have you craving burgers all week long.