I used to be adamant that a classic grilled burger was the best way forward, simply cooked over charcoal on thin steel grates to maximise the volume of smoke absorbed into the meat. Fat is slowly rendered out of your patty by the heat of the BBQ, it drips down and hits the charcoal in an oh so satisfying sizzle. Smoke is kicked up and gives you that quintessential "BBQ flavour" and more smoke is more flavour, right?!
Not quite. Whilst this is certainly true when you're cooking a thick fatty cut like a brisket or a pork shoulder as the meat will absorb plenty of smoke during the cooking process; for something quick like a thin steak or a burger patty, there just isn't enough time for the smoke to truly permeate.
A "smashburger" is cooked really fast, smashed flat on a screaming hot griddle. This will provide you with the perfect burger texture and plenty of flavour too. A delicious crust coupled with a soft and juicy centre.
100% Beef. No binders or additives, no egg or breadcrumbs. We just want beef.
We recommend 120g of minced beef per patty, 20% fat content (or more). More fat, more flavour. Lean beef mince has it's place, but not here.
The secret to making the perfect smashburger patty is to not make a smashburger patty. Take a loose handful of your beef mince and gently form a meatball. Be careful not to overwork the beef or you'll end up with a dense hockey puck. The texture should be loose and if it falls apart a little on the grill, don't worry. The goal here is not to form a pretty burger but a really tasty one, with craggy edges and a crisp crust, plenty of texture and deliciously moist inside.
How to cook your Smashburger
Fire up your Weber grill – charcoal BBQ, gas or electric; for this recipe it truly does not matter.
Get your cast iron griddle red hot and oily. We recommend using the Weber non-stick spray (you can easily coat your griddle with a few liberal squirts just before you add the beef).
Before you grab your mince, toast your bun directly on the cast iron griddle, open side facing down and press lightly so you get an even browning. Note that you only want these lightly toasted – just enough so the sauce sits on the bun and doesn't get sucked in to make the buns soggy. Remove the bun and set aside.
Place your meatball on the cast iron griddle and smash it flat with an oily spatula. Press down hard.
If you like, use another utensil to help you push down the back of the spatula. You're looking for a thin patty smashed flat quickly to force out plenty of delicious fat (in which your burger will fry).
Salt liberally and leave undisturbed until the crust has formed. the outer edges will be brown. This only takes a couple of minutes. If you look closely, you'll see that the very centre of the burger patty becomes a little raised, Flip and season again with a generous pinch of salt, add a slice of cheese on your patty. Our burger cheese of choice here is "American cheese" which melts but only a little to cloak the meat, but it's up to you.
Close the lid of your BBQ and wait until the cheese has drooped over the edge of the patty.
Lift out your cooked smashburger and slide onto the bottom half of your burger bun, press down the top and tuck in.
A great smashburger does not require a knife and fork to eat, or a stake to keep it upright, go easy on the toppings.
The burger is the star of the show, on that we can surely all agree. Beyond this, the choice of bun, the toppings - that's on you. These are the supporting acts, to enhance your burger (but not to overwhelm). Classic options for the bun are a soft white sesame roll, the trendy brioche or the trusty crusty white.
And then you have the condiments, so many condiments. Many swear by burger sauce and little else but we like the following combo - 1/2 tsp of mayo on the bottom roll, 1 tsp of ketchup and a 1/2 tsp of yellow mustard on the top bun with sliced gherkins, shallots and shredded iceberg lettuce.
For this recipe we used the following: